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The Party's Over

Baltimore County will not to hold it's annual reception in Ocean City during the Maryland Association of Counties convention next month.

Baltimore County officials will make their annual migration to Ocean City next month for the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference but they won't be holding their traditional party.

For the first time since Dutch Ruppersberger was county executive, the county will not hold it's usual reception at Horizons, a bar at the Clarion Resorts Fountainebleau Hotel.

Three of the seven members of the council—Vicki Almond, David Marks and Tom Quirk—told Patch they decided this year to not chip in for the event.

"I felt uncomfortable about last year's event," Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, said. "I have ordinary people who give me $30 or $40 and I don't think they want their money subsidizing a party."

Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat, said she opted not to pay a share of the party because the council has been barred from raising money for nearly a year while it handles zoning requests in the county's quadrennial Comprehensive Rezoning Map Process.

"I quite honestly didn't want to take money out of my campaign funds for a Coke and a crab cake," Almond said.

Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, is traveling in Norway and was not immediately available for an interview.

In an email, Quirk said simply that he was "not participating in the MACo reception."

Last year, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and all seven council members contributed $1,000 toward the party. The money came from their campaign accounts.

Another $15,000 came from various interests .

A Reporter was kept in the lobby outside the event while about 250 people including leaders of other jurisdictions, state legislators, lobbyists and others interested in influencing county decision-makers enjoyed drinks at the open bar and dined on various meats on a stick.

Don Mohler, a spokesman for Kamenetz, told the Baltimore Sun Friday, that Kamenetz had decided to not hold the party this year citing "the economic climate."

Almond said she plans on attending the conference as she did last year. She and Marks were seen frequently at the convention center, taking advantage of the three days of seminars for county leaders.

"I like going to the classes," Almond said, adding that she didn't feel that if she didn't go to the party that she would be neglecting the development attorneys who normally attend. "I have a pretty nice relationship with them but I've worked with them a lot already this year."

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Tim July 24, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Nah, its just a reflection of their greater desire to cover their collective a's because they are actually local politicians (not state or federal) and have to worry much more about the perception/views of their local constitutents then other, higher level politicians. If we could at least keep our own local county 'clean' that would be a nice start, though.
LalainMaryland July 26, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Actually it is paid for personally.
LalainMaryland July 26, 2012 at 03:35 PM
How would local communities house the multitude of people that attend the conference? And why can't there be a conference for Maryland? Other industries have them?
Bryan P. Sears July 26, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Baltimore County pays for a contingent of employees to attend each year and that includes the conference fee, hotel room, food and mileage. The County Council pays for its member separately. There are some exceptions but in general, Baltimore County pays for people to attend.
adminnikePrinz July 30, 2012 at 04:34 PM
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