Recently, there has been much dialogue about the use of publicly-owned cars by Councilmembers. It is not a new topic. In 2010, as a candidate for the County Council, I was critical of the use of these cars. I was mainly concerned that a county car could be used for campaigning, which is not an appropriate use of taxpayer resources.
Upon my election, in keeping with a campaign statement, I refused a county car. For two years, I continued to drive my personal vehicle, accepting reimbursement for county-related mileage. Several weeks ago, after talking to my wife, I reluctantly accepted a county vehicle.
I use it sparingly, mostly to drive to meetings that are related to my job as a County Councilmember. On the weekends, my family and I almost always use my wife’s car. When I attended a recent political fundraiser, I had a friend drive me.
My decision to take the car was a reluctant one, but I’m sorry for an earlier statement that I would not accept one.
I am still concerned that a county vehicle could be abused, which is why I am pushing for a clear policy that requires relinquishment of a car if it is involved in a serious traffic incident. We also need to clarify that cars are not to be used to attend fundraisers or transport campaign materials like signs or bumper stickers.
My district stretches from Bellona Avenue to the Harford County line. It is an extraordinarily active district, and people expect to see and talk to their Councilmember. I look forward to continuing the relationship I have established with constituents in Towson, Parkville, Loch Raven, and Perry Hall, and working on their behalf to improve Baltimore County.