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Town Council votes to add
fifth commissioner to board

Ingrid Mezo

Emmitsburg town officials voted during a town meeting Wednesday to add a fifth commissioner to the town board and prohibit the mayor from voting along with commission members.

The resolution also increases, from two to three, the number of board members required to vote to expel a member of the commission from a meeting for disorderly conduct or a violation of its rules.

All four commissioners voted in favor of the resolution, while Mayor James Hoover abstained from voting. Residents will elect the new commissioner during the already scheduled election in April.

The term of Commissioner Art Elder expires at the end of April, and his seat is up for election. Elder said after the meeting Wednesday that he was unsure of whether he planned to run for re-election.

The board also unanimously voted Wednesday to clarify the number of days the mayor has to approve or veto legislation. The charter was changed to specify that the mayor now has 10 calendar (rather than business) days to act on a measure passed by the board of commissioners. If he fails to act, the measure becomes effective.

If the mayor vetoes legislation, he has to inform board members of his reasons for the veto by the next town meeting. The commissioners then have 30 calendar days from the date the mayor vetoed the legislation to overturn the veto. At least four commissioners have to vote to overturn the veto, instead of the majority that was previously required.

The board had considered making the charter changes at several town meetings over the last several months, but commissioners opted not to vote until they could consider all changes at one time.

At the Nov. 21 town meeting, Hoover had presented the board with an amendment to add a fifth commissioner drafted by town attorney John Clapp, but paperwork for the other changes had not yet been drafted.

It takes 40 days to make charter changes and 15 days to amend the town’s code, Hoover said.

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