WHO WANTS TO BE AN ALDERMAN?? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Who wants to be an Annapolis Alderman? Not many apparently. One of them has referred to the job as "community service with a stipend" and in the last year, we have seen three of them leave. Each time one leaves, it means a special election which costs us a lot of money and requires a lot of work on the part of city staff and volunteers. One went to higher office after about a term and a half (says more about the staggered election than anything else), one left for an appointed position with the new county executive (which did not last too long) and now one for....well, I can't confirm why the latest one is leaving, and it may not really matter. CP has been an Annapolitan long enough to know many Alderman and to see many come and go, and even to see a few of them become Mayor.

Here are some things to think about. It takes commitment to even run for office. It's hard work. You need to pump the flesh, wear out the shoe leather, raise some money, fill out forms. Your name is out there--for better or worse. Then you can win and get that tough job for little pay, or you lose and well.....you lose. Then you go start a blog I suppose.

But, if you win, then everybody is after you all the time. Meetings and more meetings, phone calls, emails, paperwork, complaints and who knows what else will follow.

Some of it must be tedious, some of it may be gratifying, but it is work and it is public service. We ask a lot from our Alderman and we give them, well, we give them, I am ashamed to admit, all of $12, 500 per year. Yup. No office. No staff, just a lot of work and headaches, and maybe a whole mess of invitations to all kinds of events where you hope the food is still hot.

We need to do better. If you are wealthy and or retired, it's easier, but do we only want retired or wealthy lawmakers? How can a working person with a family do this? Our current City Council is a mix of retirees and working people. I believe that two, and possibly three are single. Some obviously work harder than others and get more done. Some are team builders, others are more, shall we say, independent? However, CP believes that over time, City Council has become a more collegial place than it used to be.

CP once lived in a 24-unit condominium. He served on that condo board the whole time he lived there and was constantly amazed at how few of those 24 members would not even consider serving on the board. That was their home!!! They had huge amounts invested in it and its future. People of Annapolis, we are no different when it comes to our own Board, our City Council. Please get out there and get involved. Know your Alderman. Work with him or her. And maybe, just maybe even consider running for office. If you are in Ward 2, here is your big chance! Let's hope nobody else leaves prematurely.


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