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Smithsburg councilman's letter criticizes mayor over husband's reappointment to board

October 09, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG -- The August reappointment of Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers' husband to the town board of zoning appeals came up again at Tuesday's town council meeting.

At the Aug. 6 meeting, councilmembers Tom Chiarizia and Shirley Aurand voted in favor of Homer Myers' reappointment while Donnie Souders Jr. and Dennis "Jack" Wenthe voted against it. The mayor cast the tiebreaking vote in favor of her husband's reappointment.

Councilman Jerome Martin, who previously had spoken out against the reappointment, was not at the August meeting because of an injury.

The mayor said in August she felt conflicted about casting a vote on the issue, but she decided to do so because of a pressing need for a fifth member.

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Toward the end of Tuesday's meeting, Jerome Martin asked that town clerk/treasurer/manager Betsy Martin read a letter into the record.

The councilman's letter said the "action taken by the mayor demonstrates the utter contempt the mayor has for the council's ability to function as a sound governing body."

In conclusion, Jerome Martin's letter suggested the citizens of Smithsburg were "defrauded" by the mayor's actions and he urged that the town quickly pass an ethics ordinance.

Town attorney Charles Wagaman said Tuesday he knew the vote was on the Aug. 5 agenda and he confirmed that the mayor has the right, if not obligation, to vote in such a situation.

After the letter was read, Mayor Myers spoke briefly then quickly adjourned the meeting.

"There was no way I would have known it was going to be a tie vote," she said of her actions at the Aug. 5 meeting. "That's totally wrong."

She went on to say that she based her decision that night on a letter of recommendation of every appeals board member who asked that Homer Myers be reappointed to the board.

"I went with the majority that night," the mayor said. "I did nothing wrong."

The mayor said she knew her husband would welcome the right to be heard.

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