Harford County Council Considering Term Limits

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The Harford County Council building in Bel Air (Credit: Van Fisher/ Patch)

HARFORD COUNTY - At Tuesday’s meeting of the Harford County Council, republican members Jessica Boyle-Tsottles and Aaron Penman introduced a bill that would establish term limits for county council members.

Penman, one of the county’s newly elected members, ran on this issue in November. On his campaign website, Penman says term limits would help reduce unnecessary regulations.

“​​By placing term limits on legislators, we will limit the number of unnecessary laws and regulations placed on Marylanders, clean up government corruption, and hold our elected representatives accountable to the people.”

The proposed bill would limit elected officials to two terms in a specific office. This would allow an individual to serve two terms on the county council and later serve two terms as council president.

The passage of this bill would require the issue to be put on a referendum in 2024. “We don’t want to make the decision for the county,” Penman said. “We want the county to make the decision for themselves.”

Despite the support from Penman and Boyle-Tsottles, the council was not unanimous in its support for the bill. Dion Guthrie, a Democrat from District A, described the bill as “feel-good legislation.”

“I think people have a right to make a decision of who they want sitting up here. I don’t think it should be our right to say, ‘Well, you can only do it two terms,” Guthrie said at the meeting.

Of the current members of the Harford County Council, only two have served more than two terms.

Guthrie was initially elected in 2006 and served until 2014 before winning his election again in 2022, making this his third term as a council member.

Council President Patrick Vincenti is serving his second term as president and third on the council. (this would be permitted under the current language of the bill.)

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