categorically denied "any perception this has been done as
Weiner has come under fire recently
for opposition to County Executive Tom Gordon and several
observers of county government have expected him to be subject
to some form of 'discipline'. Also, Renee Sutton, executive
assistant to Sherry Freebery, the county's chief administrative
officer and Gordon's top appointee, speaking during the public
comment portion of Council's Jan. 14 session, called for
Weiner's removal from Council for having distributed both false
and personal information about her
admitted having done so, in a fit of anger, and apologized to
Sutton. Council has no power to impeach or remove any of its
Former Councilman Richard Abbott
charged in 2001 that he was stripped of the chairmanship of
the Special Services Committee in retribution for his outspoken
opposition on several issues.
Coons said Weiner had expressed
"willingness to step aside" and thanked him for "putting aside
personal interest" for the benefit of Council as a whole.
Weiner, who represents the Second
Weiner and Councilwoman Patty Powell exchange pleasantries
after Council President Christopher Coons appointed her to
chair the Land Use Committee.
District, which includes Brandywine Hundred and the
Greenville-Westover Hills area in Christiana Hundred, has headed
the Land Use Committee since he was elected to Council six years
ago. Before then, he was zoning chairman for the Council of
Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred since 1985 and since
his election has been involved in land use matters with the
National Association of Counties.
Land Use Committee is second only to its Executive Committee in
terms of the volume of its activity since land use matters make
up by far the largest segment of Council's activity. Coons heads
the Executive Committee, which is, in effect, Council's steering
announcing the Powell's appointment at the Jan. 21 meeting of
the Executive Committee, Coons said it was the first in a series
of moves intended to realign all committees following the
elections of Powell and William Tansey.
also noted that, unlike Congress and most state and local
legislatures, County Council does not limit committee leadership
to members of the political party which holds the majority of
seats. Coons said he intends to continue that "nonpartisan
and Tansey are the only Republicans on Council. Gordon also is a
he made the point that the power to appoint committee chairs "is
one of the few prerogatives the president of Council has," Coons
called for a show-of-hands vote on Powell's appointment. All
seven members, including Weiner, raised his or her hand.
vote, Weiner congratulated Powell and said that it was logical
for her to head the committee because most of the land use
issues Council faces originate from south of Pulaski Highway --
the large and rapidly growing area of the county which Powell
later told Delaforum that he did not contest the move because he
was "willing to defer to the members of County Council who made
the request [for the change]."
learned that, during consultations which obviously had gone on
before the Executive Committee convened, Weiner was supported by
Coons and Tansey.
not say when he intends to appoint other committee chairs.
its bipartisanship, Council's committee system is unusual in
that all seven members of Council are members of all its
committees. Like other legislative bodies Council's 'real work'
is done in committee where issues are hashed out and, in some
but not all cases, preliminary votes taken. Committee meetings
are announced in advance and open to the public except when they
deal with matters which the state's open meeting law permits to
be considered in closed-door executive sessions.
other committees and their chairs are: Administrative Services
or finance, Robert Woods; Special Services, Coons; Community
Services, Penrose Hollins; and Emergency Services or public
safety, Karen Venezky. The Human Resources, or personnel,
Committee chair is vacant. It formerly was headed by Christopher
Roberts, whom Powell defeated in a Democratic Party primary
election last September. Tansey, who as yet has no committee
chairmanship, defeated Abbott in the Republican primary.