Charles County- The Board of County Commissioners revealed the selection of nine members and three alternates for the Charter Board during their meeting on May 24. The appointed individuals will be responsible for drafting a charter that will alter Charles County’s current form of government from code home rule to charter government.

The appointed members include Cheryl Botts and Sarah Hammett from District 1, Marjorie Chiles and Mary Stokely from District 2, Ramonda Davis and Christopher Harrington from District 3, Eileen Lynch-Britt and Gregory Waring from District 4, and Dottery Butler-Washington as an at-large member. William Smith, Michael White, and James Crawford were appointed alternate members.

The Charter Board is set to convene at least once a month, starting from June 1, 2023. Their primary objective will be to create a draft charter that encompasses the duties, powers, rules, procedures, and structure of the local county government, as well as the rights of its citizens. By June 1, 2024, the proposed charter will be presented to the County Commissioners for review. If approved, the charter will be placed on the ballot for the 2024 regular election to seek approval from Charles County voters. A majority vote in favor of adoption will result in a change of government form for Charles County, as specified in the charter.

During the meeting, several important items were also approved by the Commissioners. These included a budget transfer request of $62,000 to fund the renewal of Zencity, an online community engagement platform that will facilitate the sharing of essential project information, conduct surveys, and gather resident input on community priorities. Additionally, a budget transfer request of $418,500 was approved to cover the increased electricity costs for water and sewer operations.

Furthermore, the Commissioners expressed their support for utilizing up to $60,000 from contingency funds to administer the Healthy Families Southern Maryland program. This allocation is necessitated by a potential gap in grant-funded services resulting from changes in the state grant administration this year.

In addition to these approvals, a memorandum of understanding between the Charles County Commissioners, the Charles County Sheriff, and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 24 was also authorized. Additionally, an amendment to the Commissioner Rules and Procedures was proposed during the meeting.

Several board and commission appointments were announced as well. Commissioner Collins and Commissioner Stewart were appointed to the Task Force to Study School Bus Operator contracts and Wages, while Claude Humbert and Benjamin Watkins were reappointed to the Board of Appeals.

Proclamations were issued by the Commissioners for various occasions, including National Public Works Week (May 21-27, 2023), Pride Month and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Month (June 2023), Women’s Veterans Day (June 12, 2023), and Juneteenth Day (June 19, 2023).

Citizens who wish to view the meeting or participate in the Commissioner Listening Session can access the information by visiting [insert link]. The next Commissioners Session is scheduled for June 13, 2023.

For citizens with special needs, the Maryland Relay Service can be contacted at 711, or Relay Service TDD at 800-735-2258.

The recent Board of County Commissioners meeting showcased significant progress and decision-making for Charles County, marking an important step towards potential changes in the county’s form of government. With the Charter Board now assembled, their efforts to draft a charter will shape the future of Charles County’s local governance. The County Commissioners’ approvals and appointments reflect their commitment to addressing various community needs and promoting inclusivity.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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