Harford County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Harford County Council as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
General administrative provisions — See Ch. 1, Art. III.
Boards, commissions, councils and agencies — See Ch. 9.
Departments — See Ch. 16.
Council rules of procedure — See Ch. A272.
004a District Boundary Map
Article I Legislative Branch

§ 4-1 Composition; membership of Council.

§ 4-2 General legislative powers of Council.

§ 4-3 Council to act as body.

§ 4-4 Election of Council members.

§ 4-5 Council districts.

§ 4-6 Redistricting procedure.

§ 4-7 Terms of Council members.

§ 4-8 Qualifications of Council members.

§ 4-9 Compensation of Council members.

§ 4-10 Vacancies in Council.

§ 4-11 Forfeiture of office by Council members.

§ 4-12 Council President; Vice President.

§ 4-13 Secretary of Council.

§ 4-14 County Auditor.

§ 4-15 Special audits.

§ 4-16 Investigations by Council.

§ 4-17 Investigation procedure.

§ 4-18 Noninterference with Executive Branch.

§ 4-19 Sessions of Council.

§ 4-20 Enactment of legislation.

§ 4-21 Effective date of laws.

§ 4-22 Referendum.

§ 4-23 Publication of laws.

§ 4-24 Compilation of laws.

§ 4-25 Confirmation of appointments.

§ 4-26 People's Counsel.

§ 4-27 People's Counsel Citizens' Advisory Board.

Article II Executive Branch

§ 4-28 Composition.

§ 4-29 Powers and duties of County Executive.

§ 4-30 Election of County Executive.

§ 4-31 Term of County Executive.

§ 4-32 Qualifications of County Executive.

§ 4-33 Compensation of County Executive.

§ 4-34 Vacancies in office of County Executive.

§ 4-35 Removal of County Executive from office.

§ 4-36 Forfeiture of office by County Executive.

§ 4-37 Temporary absence or disability of County Executive.

§ 4-38 Executive veto.

§ 4-39 Director of Administration.

§ 4-40 Administrative appointments.

§ 4-41 Removal of members of boards or commissions.

§ 4-42 Temporary administrative appointments.

§ 4-43 Supervision and control of county agencies.

§ 4-44 Agencies enumerated.

[Adopted by Bill Nos. 76-103[1] and 76-106[2]]
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill was passed by the Council over the veto of the County Executive and was included as Ch. 2, Art. II, of the 1978 Code.
[2]
Editor's Note: This legislation was included as Ch. 2, Art. II, of the 1978 Code.

§ 4-1 Composition; membership of Council. [1]

The Legislative Branch of the county government shall consist of the County Council, hereinafter referred to as the "Council," and the officers and employees thereof. The Council shall be composed of seven (7) members.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 201 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-2 General legislative powers of Council. [1]

All legislative powers which may be exercised by the county under the Constitution and laws of the state, including all lawmaking powers heretofore exercised by the General Assembly but transferred to the People of the county by virtue of the adoption of the Charter, shall be vested in the Council.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 202 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-3 Council to act as body. [1]

In all of its functions and deliberations, the Council shall act as a body and shall have no power to create standing committees or to delegate any of its functions or duties to a smaller number of its members than the whole.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 203 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-4 Election of Council members. [1]

A. 
All Councilmen shall be nominated and elected by the qualified voters of the entire county at the same time as state officers and in the manner provided by law. Six (6) Councilmen, at the time of their election, shall each reside in a different one of six (6) Councilmanic districts of the county. The seventh member of the Council shall be the President of the Council and may reside anywhere in the county.
B. 
In all Councilmanic elections, after such action is permitted by the Constitution of the state, each of the six (6) members of the Council required to reside in Councilmanic districts shall be nominated and elected by the qualified voters of the Councilmanic district in which he resides.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 204 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-5 Council districts.

[Added by Bill No. 81-77; amended by Bill Nos. 91-52; 01-30; 11-52[1]]
A. 
Harford County is hereby divided into 6 Council districts for the purposes of Article II of the Charter.
B. 
The Council districts are composed of the election precincts established by the Board of Supervisors of Elections, as the precincts exist on October 18, 2011, as follows:
District A
1-01
Edgewood
1-10
Abingdon
1-03
Edgewood
1-15
Constant friendship
1-04
Joppatowne
1-19
Willoughby
1-05
Edgewood
1-41
Magnolia
1-06
Edgewood
1-45
Joppatowne
District B
1-02
Joppa-Magnolia
3-03
Fallston
1-07
Winters Run
3-06
Fallston/ Gunpowder
1-08
Emmorton
3-07
Wilna
1-09
Singer
3-13
Bel Air
1-11
Box Hill
4-02
Upper Crossroads
1-21
Magness
4-05
Upper Crossroads
District C
1-14
Bel Air South
3-14
Bel Air
3-08
Rock Spring
3-15
Bel Air
3-09
Forest Lake
3-16
Bel Air
3-10
Town of Bel Air
3-17
Bel Air
3-11
Town of Bel Air
3-19
Bel Air
3-12
Town of Bel Air
District D
2-02
Hopewell
4-04
Jarrettsville
3-04
Harkins
4-06
Jarrettsville
3-05
Forest Hill
5-01
Dublin
3-24
Frogtown
5-02
Stearns
4-01
Jarrettsville
5-03
Whiteford
4-03
Norrisville
5-04
Darlington
District E
2-01
Aberdeen
3-02
Churchville
2-04
Aberdeen
3-18
Bel Air
2-05
Swan Creek
3-20
Prospect Mill
2-10
City of Aberdeen
3-21
Fountain Green
2-11
City of Aberdeen
3-22
Thomas Run
2-14
City of Aberdeen
3-23
Greenbrier
2-15
City of Aberdeen
6-05
City of Aberdeen
District F
1-12
Abingdon
2-19
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
1-13
Abingdon
6-01
Havre de Grace
1-16
Riverside
6-02
Meadowvale
1-17
Creswell
6-03
Havre de Grace
1-18
Bush
6-04
Havre de Grace
1-20
Belcamp
6-06
City of Havre de Grace
2-03
Perryman
6-07
Oakington
C. 
The boundary lines of the Council districts are as shown on the following map:[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: The map showing the boundary lines of the Council districts is included at the end of this chapter.
[1]
Editor's Note: This bill also provided that the districts adopted in this section are adopted in lieu of the plan presented by the Redistricting Commission on 9-13-2011.

§ 4-6 Redistricting procedure. [1]

A. 
The boundaries of Councilmanic districts shall be established in 1974 and reestablished in 1982 and every 10th year thereafter. Whenever district boundaries are to be established or reestablished, the Council shall appoint, not later than February 15 of the year prior to the year in which redistricting is to be effective, a Commission on Redistricting, composed of two (2) members from each political party chosen from a list of five (5) names submitted by the Central Committee of each political party which polled at least fifteen percent (15%) of the total vote cast for all candidates for the Council in the immediately preceding regular election. The Council shall appoint one (1) additional member of the Commission. The Commission shall, at its first meeting, select one (1) of its members to serve as Chairman. No person shall be eligible for appointment to the Commission if he holds any elected office.
B. 
By October 1 of the year prior to the year in which redistricting is to be effective, the Commission shall prepare, publish and make available a plan of Councilmanic districts and shall present that plan, together with a report explaining it, to the Council. The plan shall provide for Councilmanic districts that are compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population. No less than fifteen (15) calendar days and no more than thirty (30) calendar days after receiving the plan of the Commission, the Council shall hold a public hearing on the plan. If within seventy (70) calendar days following presentation of the Commission's plan no other law establishing or reestablishing the boundaries of the Councilmanic districts has been enacted, the plan, as submitted, shall become law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 205 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-7 Terms of Council members. [1]

A Councilman shall serve for a term beginning at 12:00 noon on the first Monday in December next following his election and ending at 12:00 noon on the first Monday in December in the fourth year thereafter.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 207 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-8 Qualifications of Council members. [1]

A Councilman shall have been a resident and a qualified voter of the county for at least two (2) years immediately preceding his election or appointment. At the time of his election or appointment, he shall be a resident of the Councilmanic district from which he is elected or appointed. During his term of office, he shall not hold any other office of profit or employment in the government of the state, the county or any municipality within the county, except a position held by virtue of being a Councilman. He shall not, during the whole term for which he was elected or appointed and for two (2) years' thereafter, be eligible for appointment to any county office or position carrying compensation, except to the office of Councilman or County Executive in the event of a vacancy.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 207 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-9 Compensation of Council members. [1]

[Amended by Bill No. 99-34; 10-06; 16-023[2]
A. 
The President of the County Council is entitled to receive, while in office, an annual salary as of July 1, 2019 of $47,000:
B. 
Each other member of the Council is entitled to receive, while in office, an annual salary as of July 1, 2019 of $43,500:
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 208 of the Harford County Charter.
[2]
Editor's Note: Section 2 of Bill No. 16-023 provides as follows: "And Be It Further Enacted, That beginning on July 1, 2019 and for each fiscal year thereafter the compensation received, while in office, by the County Council President and the other members of the County Council shall be adjusted annually to reflect the annual change of the "Consumer Price Index" for "All Urban Consumers" for the expenditure category "All Items Not Seasonally Adjusted", and for all regions in those years that members of the County Classified Service receive an increase. The Annual Consumer Price Index for the period ending each December as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, shall be used to adjust the compensation of the County Council President and the other members of the County Council while in office when the members of the County Classified Servcie receive an increase."

§ 4-10 Vacancies in Council. [1]

A vacancy in the Council shall exist upon the death or resignation of a Councilman or upon forfeiture of office by a Councilman. When a vacancy occurs, a majority of the remaining members of the Council shall, within sixty (60) calendar days thereafter, appoint a person to fill the vacancy. If an appointee is to succeed a member of a political party, he shall be selected from a list of at least three (3) names submitted to the Council by the Central Committee of the party to which the former Councilman belonged. If the Council has not acted within sixty (60) calendar days, the County Executive shall appoint a person to fill the vacancy within ten (10) calendar days thereafter. If the Councilman who held the vacant position was a member of a political party at the time of his election, the person appointed by the Council Executive to fill the vacancy shall be selected from the same list that the Central Committee of that party has previously submitted to the Council. An appointee shall serve for the unexpired term of his predecessor. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall meet the same qualifications and residence requirements as the previous Councilman.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 209 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-11 Forfeiture of office by Council members. [1]

A Councilman shall immediately forfeit his office if he ceases to be a qualified voter of the county or is convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude. In the case of a Councilman required to reside in a particular Councilmanic District, he shall forfeit his office if he ceases to be a resident of the Councilmanic district in which he resided at the time of his election, provided that no member of the Council shall forfeit his office by reason of any change in the boundary line of his Councilmanic district made during his term.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 210 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-12 Council President; Vice President. [1]

The President of the Council shall be elected by the qualified voters of the county in accordance with Section 204 of the Charter. At its first meeting in December of each year, the Council shall elect from among its members a Vice President. The President, or in his absence the Vice President, shall preside at all meetings. On all questions before the Council, the President and Vice President shall have and may exercise the vote to which each is entitled as a Council member.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 211 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-13 Secretary of Council. [1]

There shall be a Secretary of the Council, who shall keep minutes of its meetings, maintain its journal and perform such other duties as the Council may direct. The Secretary of the Council shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and shall receive such compensation as the Council may determine.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 212 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-14 County Auditor. [1]

A. 
The Council shall appoint a County Auditor, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Council and shall receive such compensation as the Council may determine. He shall be a certified public accountant licensed under the law of the state.
B. 
The County Auditor shall, not later than three (3) months after the close of each fiscal year, prepare and submit to the Council and to the County Executive a complete financial audit for the preceding fiscal year of all agencies that receive or disburse county funds. The audit shall include a report, together with such explanatory comments as the County Auditor may deem appropriate. The report and explanatory comments shall be published in at least 1 newspaper published in the county, and copies of the complete audit shall be open for inspection by the public. The Council may exempt on an annual basis those agencies whose entire records, accounts and affairs are completely audited each year by the state or federal government.
[Amended by Bill No. 13-25]
C. 
All records and files pertaining to the receipt and expenditure of county funds by all officers, agents and employees of the county and all agencies thereof shall at all times be open to the inspection of the County Auditor. He shall promptly call to the attention of the Council and the County Executive any irregularity or improper procedure which he may discover.
D. 
The Council shall have the power to implement the provisions of this section and to assign additional functions, duties and personnel to the County Auditor. All actions of the Council pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the executive veto.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 213 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-15 Special audits. [1]

Either the Council or the County Executive may at any time order the examination or audit of the accounts of any agency that receives or disburses county funds. Upon the death, resignation or removal of any county officer, the County Auditor shall cause an audit and investigation to be made of any accounts maintained by the officer and by his agency. The County Auditor shall report the results of his audit to the County Executive and the Council, and copies shall be made available to the public no later than three (3) months after the ordering of the audit. If, as a result of any such audit, an officer shall be found to be indebted to the county, the County Executive shall proceed forthwith to collect the indebtedness. All actions of the Council pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the executive veto.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 214 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-16 Investigations by Council. [1]

The Council may make, or cause to be made, investigations into the affairs of the county and the conduct of any county agency. For this purpose, the Council may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 215 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-17 Investigation procedure.

[Added by Bill No. 77-105]
The following rules shall govern investigations by the County Council and appointed investigators:
A. 
Service of subpoenas.
(1) 
The investigating body or person shall endeavor to give at least seven (7) days' notice to a prospective witness. However, failure to give seven (7) days' notice shall not invalidate the subpoena as long as its issuance is otherwise reasonable.
(2) 
Any person who is served with a subpoena also shall be served with a copy of the resolution or law establishing the investigation; a copy of the guidelines or rules under which the investigation will function; if not otherwise provided, a statement informing him of the subject matter of the investigation or inquiry; and, if a personal appearance is required, a notice that he may be accompanied by counsel of his own choosing.
(3) 
Any person failing to respond to a subpoena issued by the County Council or investigators may be subjected to the penalties of § 1-24.
B. 
Conduct of hearings.
(1) 
The formal hearings of the investigation shall be open to the public. However, this provision shall not preclude the gathering of information, material or other evidence by a Councilman or the Council's staff in preparation for or in extension of the open hearings.
(2) 
Where the Council is sitting as an investigative body, the President, if present and able to act, shall preside at all hearings of the investigation and shall conduct the examination of witnesses or supervise examination by other members of the investigation and members of the Council's staff who have been authorized to examine witnesses. In the President's absence or disability, the Vice President shall serve as the presiding officer of the investigation. In the absence of the President and Vice President, the Council shall select a presiding officer to act in the absence or disability of both the President and Vice President. Where the Council is not sitting as the investigative body, the person appointed to conduct the investigation shall conduct the examination of the witnesses.
(3) 
No hearing, or part thereof, may be televised, filmed or broadcasted.
C. 
Witnesses' right to counsel: submission of proposed questions.
(1) 
Every witness at the hearing may be accompanied by counsel of his own choosing who may advise the witness as to his rights. Limitations may be prescribed by the Council or investigators to prevent obstruction of or interference with the orderly conduct of the hearing.
(2) 
Any witness at a hearing, or his counsel, may submit to the investigative body or officer proposed questions to be asked of the witness or any other witness relevant to the matters upon which there have been questions or submission of evidence, and the Council or investigators shall ask such of the questions as they may deem appropriate to the subject matter of the hearing.
D. 
Testimony and other evidence.
(1) 
Records will be kept of all proceedings in which testimony or other evidence is received or adduced, which shall include:
(a) 
Rulings of the investigative body or officer.
(b) 
Questions of the investigative body or officer or staff.
(c) 
The testimony or response of witnesses.
(d) 
Sworn written statements which the Council or investigators authorize a witness to submit and such other matters as the Council or investigators may direct.
(2) 
All testimony given at a hearing shall be under oath or affirmation unless the requirement is dispensed with in a particular instance by the investigators.
(3) 
Any member of an investigative body may administer an oath or affirmation to a witness.
(4) 
The Council or investigators at a hearing may direct a witness to answer any relevant question or furnish any relevant book, paper or document. Disobedience shall constitute contempt, and the person shall be subject to the penalties stated in § 1-24.
(5) 
A witness or his counsel, with the consent of the Council or investigators, may file with the Council or investigators for the record sworn written statements relevant to the purpose, subject matter and scope of the investigation or inquiry.
(6) 
A witness, upon his advance request and at his own expense, shall be furnished with a certified transcript of his testimony by the Council or investigators.
(7) 
Testimony and other evidence given or adduced at a hearing closed to the public shall not be made public unless authorized by a majority vote of all of the members of the Council, which authorization shall also specify the form and manner in which testimony or other evidence may be released. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a witness or other person supplying evidence from disclosing such of his own testimony or other evidence concerning which only he could claim a privilege against disclosure.
E. 
Acquisition of evidence or information by other means. Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to limit or prohibit the acquisition of evidence or information by an investigation by any other lawful means.
F. 
Sequestering of witnesses. During the course of an investigation, witnesses who have been subpoenaed to testify may be sequestered by the Council or appointed investigators.

§ 4-18 Noninterference with Executive Branch. [1]

Neither the Council nor any of its members shall attempt to influence the head of any agency of the county government concerning the appointment of any person to, or his removal from, any office or employment nor in any way take part in the appointment of or removal of any officer or employee of the county except as specifically provided in the Charter. Formal communications from the Council to the Executive Branch shall be addressed to the County Executive, and neither the Council nor any member thereof shall give orders either publicly or privately to any subordinate of the County Executive.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 216 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-19 Sessions of Council. [1]

A. 
The first three (3) Tuesdays of each month and each Tuesday of the month of May, and such additional days as the Council may determine, are designated as legislative session days for the enactment of legislation. In no event shall the Council sit for more than forty-five (45) legislative session days in any year.
B. 
For the purpose of performing duties, other than enacting legislation, which are properly exercisable by the Council under the provisions of the Charter, the Council may sit in nonlegislative sessions at such time as it may determine.
C. 
No session of the Council shall be scheduled earlier than 6:00 p.m. on any day unless authorized by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council.
D. 
Four (4) members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
E. 
The Council shall provide for the keeping of a journal which shall be open to public inspection at all reasonable times.
F. 
All voting, except on procedural motions, shall be by roll call, and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal.
G. 
No business shall be transacted, nor any appointments made nor nominations confirmed, except in public session.
H. 
The Council shall adopt and publish rules of procedure not inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: See Ch. A272, Council Rules of Procedure.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 217 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-20 Enactment of legislation. [1]

A. 
The Council shall enact no law except by bill. All bills shall be styled: "Be it enacted by the County Council of Harford County, Maryland." The subject of every law shall be described in its title, and the title shall be used when giving public notice of hearings on proposed legislation. Every law, except the budget law and supplementary appropriation laws, shall embrace but one (1) subject. No law or section of law shall be revived or amended by reference to its title only.
B. 
A bill may be introduced by any member of the Council on any legislative session day of the Council. Every copy of each bill shall bear the name of the member of the Council introducing it and the date it was introduced. On the introduction of any bill, a copy thereof and notice of the time and place of the hearing on the bill shall be posted by the Council within twenty-four (24) hours on an official bulletin board to be set up by the Council in a public place. Additional copies of the bill shall be available to the public upon request. Bills introduced to meet emergencies affecting public health, safety or welfare shall be plainly designated as emergency bills and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing the claimed emergency in clear and specific terms.
C. 
Within twenty-four (24) hours following the introduction of a bill, the Council shall schedule a public hearing on the bill, which hearing shall not be less than five (5) days nor more than fourteen (14) days after publication of the hearing notice. Public notice of hearings on bills shall be published in at least 1 newspaper published in the county. The public hearing on a bill may, but need not, be held on a legislative session day and may be adjourned from time to time.
[Amended Bill No. 13-25]
D. 
After the public hearing, a bill may be enacted on a legislative session day with or without amendment, except that if a bill is amended before enactment, the bill shall not be enacted until it is reprinted or reproduced as amended. No bill, other than an emergency bill, shall be enacted except by the affirmative vote of at least four (4) members of the Council. No emergency bill shall be enacted except by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council.
E. 
The Council may reject any bill on its introduction without a public hearing by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council. Any bill not enacted within forty-five (45) days after its introduction shall be considered to have failed.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 218 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-21 Effective date of laws. [1]

Any law except an emergency law shall take effect sixty (60) calendar days following the date it becomes law, unless by its terms it is to take effect at a later date, or unless it is petitioned to referendum as provided in Section 220 of the Charter. An emergency law shall take effect on the date it becomes law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 219 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-22 Referendum. [1]

A. 
Any law which becomes law pursuant to the Charter may be petitioned to referendum except:
(1) 
A law imposing a tax.
(2) 
A law appropriating funds for current expenses of the county government.
(3) 
A law establishing or reestablishing Councilmanic districts pursuant to Section 205 of the Charter.
(4) 
A decision of the Council in a zoning case pursuant to Section 703 of the Charter.
B. 
A law shall be submitted to a referendum of the voters upon petition, in the form prescribed by law, of five percent (5%) of the qualified voters of the county computed as of the date of the previous general election. The petition shall be filed with the Board of Supervisors of Elections of the county within sixty (60) calendar days from the date the bill becomes law.
C. 
If a petition is filed, the law to be referred shall not take effect until thirty (30) calendar days after its approval by a majority of the qualified voters of the county voting thereon at the next ensuing regular election held for members of the House of Representatives of the United States. An emergency law shall remain in force from the date it becomes law, notwithstanding the filing of such petition, but shall stand repealed thirty (30) calendar days after having been rejected by a majority of the qualified voters of the county voting thereon.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 220 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-23 Publication of laws. [1]

[Amended Bill No. 13-25]
The Council shall cause all laws and all amendments to the Charter to be published in accordance with the provisions of state law in at least 1 newspaper published in the county. The first publication of a law shall take place within (10) days of the date that the legislative act became law. Copies of the laws and the Charter amendments shall be available to the public upon request.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 221 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-24 Compilation of laws. [1]

The Council shall periodically compile and codify all laws of the county. Each codification shall be submitted to the Council and, if adopted by law, shall be known as the "Harford County Code." The Council shall annually prepare and publish a cumulative supplement to the Harford County Code.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 222 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-25 Confirmation of appointments. [1]

A. 
Appointment by the County Executive of the Director of Administration, of the head of an agency in the Executive Branch of the county government or of a member of a board or commission shall be subject to confirmation by the Council. If the Council fails to act to confirm or reject any appointment within thirty (30) days of its submission to the county by the County Executive, the appointment shall stand approved.
B. 
In the case of appointment by the County Executive to the position of Director of Administration or head of an agency in the Executive Branch of the county government, a vote of at least five (5) members of the Council shall be required to reject such appointment.
C. 
In the case of appointment by the County Executive to membership on a board or commission, a vote of at least four (4) members of the Council shall be required to reject such appointment.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 223 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-26 People's Counsel. [1]

A. 
With the approval of a majority of the Council, a People's Counsel, and such assistants as may be necessary, shall be employed by the Council Attorney to represent the interests of the public in all matters and proceedings preliminary to, arising out of or affecting the zoning classification or reclassification of land in the county. Persons employed as People's Counsel shall serve as People's Counsel until such time as they resign or have been removed pursuant to the provisions stated herein. Except as provided for below, the People's Counsel shall, at all times, be free to make an independent determination as to the matters and proceedings in which he shall participate and the conduct of the affairs of his position in performing his duties and functions.
B. 
The People's Counsel shall have been a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar for a period of at least five (5) years prior to his appointment. He may not practice law before any county agency except to perform his duties and functions as People's Counsel.
C. 
The People's Counsel may be removed for cause by the Council on the recommendation of the County Executive, Council President or by a majority vote of the entire membership of the People's Counsel Citizens' Advisory Board, but only upon the affirmative vote of not less than five (5) members of the Council.
D. 
In performing his functions, the People's Counsel shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) 
He shall have the authority to appear before any governmental agency on behalf of the citizens of the county in all matters and proceedings related to planning, zoning and other land use and development matters and proceedings, and he shall have standing as an aggrieved party.
(2) 
He shall have the authority to appear as a party in interest before any state or federal court on behalf of the citizens of the county in all matters and proceedings related to planning, zoning and other land use and development matters and proceedings, and he shall have standing as an aggrieved party.
(3) 
He shall have standing to appear as an aggrieved party before the Zoning Hearing Examiners, Board of Appeals and County Council on behalf of the citizens of the county in any matter or proceeding now pending or hereafter instituted, before and under the jurisdiction of those officers or bodies, in which he may deem the public interest to be affected.
(4) 
He shall have the authority to conduct such investigations as he may deem appropriate to enable him to intelligently perform his other duties and functions.
(5) 
He shall have full access to the records of all county agencies, be entitled to call upon the assistance of all county agencies and shall be accorded the assistance and benefits of all county agencies who receive or disburse county funds and their facilities and employees in carrying out his powers, duties and functions.
(6) 
The People's Counsel may hire from time to time, as necessary for specific proceedings, persons to testify as expert witnesses, to the extent that employees of county agencies who receive or disburse county funds cannot be utilized, and may expend such sums for compensation for these persons as are provided by appropriation ordinances.
(7) 
Under no circumstances can the People's Counsel be considered by private parties as representing or protecting the interests of private parties insofar as those interests are different from the general public's interests. However, this does not preclude the People's Counsel from advancing arguments of private parties or having private parties listed as parties to a case or proceeding if it furthers the interests of the public in general. A determination of a court or administrative agency to the contrary shall not be a ground for denying standing of, or relief requested by, the People's Counsel.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 224 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-27 People's Counsel Citizens' Advisory Board. [1]

A. 
Establishment; organization; terms; removal; vacancies; representation.
(1) 
There is hereby established a People's Counsel Citizens' Advisory Board consisting of seven (7) members to be appointed by the County Council.
(2) 
A Chairman shall be designated by the members of the Board.
(3) 
The members of the Board shall serve terms coterminous with that of the Council that appoints them.
(4) 
A member of the Board may be removed only for cause by a majority vote of the Council.
(5) 
A vacancy on the Board shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner of the original appointment.
(6) 
Members of the Board shall be broadly representative of all segments of the county's population.
B. 
The Board may hold such meetings as necessary to perform its functions and shall meet as requested by the People's Counsel. The Board shall adopt such rules and regulations as necessary in the manner provided by Section 807 of the Charter.
C. 
The Board may provide guidance to and make recommendations to the People's Counsel regarding any matter referred to it by the People's Counsel, County Council or as requested by any citizen or group of citizens of the county. The Board need only record and file with the Secretary of the Council those recommendations they make to the People's Counsel.
D. 
When requested, the Board may, by a majority vote of the entire membership, direct the People's Counsel to enter his appearance in a particular matter, case or proceeding to protect the interest of the public in general.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 224 of the Harford County Charter.
[Adopted by Bill No. 76-106]

§ 4-28 Composition. [1]

The Executive Branch of the county government shall consist of the County Executive and all officers, agents and employees under his supervision and authority.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 301 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-29 Powers and duties of County Executive. [1]

All executive power vested in the county by the Constitution and laws of the state and the Charter shall be vested in the County Executive, who shall be the chief executive officer of the county and who shall faithfully execute the laws. He shall devote his full time to the duties of his office. The duties and responsibilities of the County Executive shall include but not be limited to:
A. 
Preparing and submitting to the Council the annual county budget in the manner and form provided in Article V of the Charter.
B. 
Preparing and submitting to the Council and the public, within four (4) months after the close of the fiscal year, an annual report on the activities and accomplishments of the county government, including a detailed financial statement.
C. 
Providing the Council with any information concerning the Executive Branch which the Council may require for the exercise of its powers.
D. 
Recommending to the Council such measures for legislative action as he may deem to be in the best interests of the county.
E. 
Ensuring that county funds in excess of those required for immediate needs are invested in the best interests of the county.
F. 
Signing or causing to be signed on the county's behalf all deeds, contracts and other instruments.
G. 
Seeing that the affairs of the Executive Branch are properly and efficiently administered and that employees of the Executive Branch faithfully perform their duties.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 302 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-30 Election of County Executive. [1]

The County Executive shall be nominated and elected by the qualified voters of the entire county at the same time as state officers and in the manner provided by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 303 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-31 Term of County Executive. [1]

The County Executive shall serve for a term beginning at 12:00 noon on the first Monday in December next following his election and ending at 12:00 noon on the first Monday in December in the fourth year thereafter. No person shall be eligible to succeed himself in the office of County Executive if he has served in such office for two (2) consecutive four-year terms.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 304 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-32 Qualifications of County Executive. [1]

The County Executive shall have been a resident and a qualified voter of the county for at least five (5) years immediately preceding his election or appointment. At the time of his election or appointment, he shall have attained the age of twenty-five (25) years. During his term of office, he shall not hold any other office of profit in federal, state, county or municipal government. He shall not, during the whole term for which he was elected or appointed and for two (2) years thereafter, be eligible for appointment to any county office or position carrying compensation.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 305 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-33 Compensation of County Executive. [1]

[Amended by Bill Nos. 99-34; 10-06; 14-27[2]]
The County Executive is entitled to receive, while in office, an annual salary as of July 1, 2015, of $130,000.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 306 of the Harford County Charter.
[2]
Editor's Note: Section 2 of Bill No. 14-27 provides as follows: "And Be It Further Enacted, That beginning on July 1, 2015 and for each fiscal year thereafter the compensation received, while in office, by the County Executive shall be adjusted annually to reflect the annual change of the "Consumer Price Index" for "All Urban Consumers" for the expenditure category "All Items Not Seasonally Adjusted", and for all regions in those years that members of the County Classified Service receive an increase. The Annual Consumer Price Index for the year ending each December as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, shall be used to adjust the compensation of the County Executive while in office, when members of the County Classified Service receive an increase."

§ 4-34 Vacancies in office of County Executive. [1]

A vacancy in the office of County Executive shall exist upon the death, resignation or removal of the County Executive from office or upon his forfeiture of office. In the event of a vacancy, the Council shall, within thirty (30) calendar days, appoint a County Executive for the remainder of the term. The appointment shall be made by an affirmative vote of at least four (4) members of the Council.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 307 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-35 Removal of County Executive from office. [1]

The County Executive may be removed from office by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council after a public hearing and upon a finding that he has failed to perform the duties of his office for a continuous period of six (6) months or is unable by reason of physical or mental disability to perform the duties of his office. The decision of the Council may be appealed by the County Executive within ten (10) days to the Circuit Court for the county, by petition. Upon the filing of a petition, the Court may stay the removal pending its decision. The Court shall make independent determinations of fact, and its decision may be appealed to the State Court of Appeals.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 308 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-36 Forfeiture of office by County Executive. [1]

The County Executive shall immediately forfeit his office if he ceases to be a qualified voter of the county or is convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 309 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-37 Temporary absence or disability of County Executive. [1]

In the event of the temporary absence or disability of the County Executive, the Director of Administration shall perform the duties of the County Executive, unless the County Executive designates in writing some other person in the Executive Branch. Such designation shall be filed with the Secretary of the Council. Any such designation may be revoked by the County Executive at any time by filing a new designation with the Secretary of the Council. An Acting County Executive shall have the same rights, duties, powers and obligations as an elected incumbent in such office, except the power of veto.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 310 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-38 Executive veto. [1]

Upon its enactment by the Council, any bill, except measures made expressly exempt from the executive veto by the Charter, shall be presented to the County Executive within five (5) calendar days for his approval or disapproval. Within twenty-one (21) calendar days after presentation, he shall return such bill to the Council with his approval endorsed thereon or with a statement, in writing, of his reasons for not approving the same. Upon approval by the County Executive, any such bill shall become law. Upon veto by the County Executive, his veto message shall be entered in the journal of the Council, and, not later than at its next legislative session day, the Council may reconsider the bill. If, upon reconsideration, at least five (5) members of the Council vote in the affirmative, the bill shall become law. Whenever the County Executive shall fail to return any bill within twenty-one (21) calendar days after the date of its presentation to him, the Secretary of the Council shall forthwith record the fact of such failure in the journal, and the bill shall thereupon become law. The County Executive may disapprove individual items in budget and appropriation bills. Each item not disapproved in a budget and appropriation bill shall become law, and each item disapproved in a budget and appropriation bill shall be subject to the same procedure as any other bill vetoed by the County Executive.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 311 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-39 Director of Administration. [1]

The County Executive shall appoint a Director of Administration, subject to confirmation by the Council as required by Section 223 of the Charter, who shall be selected on the basis of his qualifications as a professional administrator and shall serve at the pleasure of the County Executive. The Director of Administration shall perform administrative duties and exercise general supervision over the agencies of the Executive Branch as the County Executive may direct. Prior to assuming the duties of his office, he shall be domiciled in the county.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 312 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-40 Administrative appointments. [1]

The County Executive shall appoint a single officer to head each agency of the Executive Branch, subject to confirmation by the Council as required by Section 223 of the Charter, and may remove the same at his discretion. Within six (6) months after each election for County Executive, the County Executive shall appoint for confirmation or reconfirmation, as the case may be, all heads of agencies of the Executive Branch as defined by Section 402 of the Charter. He shall also appoint the members of all boards and commissions in the Executive Branch, except as otherwise provided for by law, subject to confirmation by the Council as required by Section 223 of the Charter, and may remove the same in accordance with the Charter or other applicable law. All employees of the Executive Branch, other than those specifically provided for in the Charter, shall be appointed and removed by the heads of the several agencies of the county government in accordance with the provisions of the County Personnel Law.[2] The Council shall have the power to approve those persons assigned by the Executive Branch to the Council to support it in the exercise and performance of its duties, powers and functions.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 313 of the Harford County Charter.
[2]
Editor's Note: For current county personnel regulations, see Ch. 38, Personnel.

§ 4-41 Removal of members of boards or commissions.

[Added by Bill No. 79-72]
The County Executive shall have the power to immediately remove from any board or commission any member who, without just cause, fails to attend any consecutive meetings. The without-just-cause determination shall be made by a majority of the members of the board or commission, excluding the individual member involved, after proper notice and hearing. Service of notice shall be made at least five (5) days prior to the date set for the hearing. The board or commission to make the determination shall give the notice and hold the hearing.

§ 4-42 Temporary administrative appointments. [1]

During the temporary absence of the Director of Administration or the head of an agency of the Executive Branch, or upon the occurrence of a vacancy in any of these positions, the County Executive shall appoint an Acting Director of Administration or acting head of the agency, as the case may be, to serve for a period not exceeding sixty (60) calendar days. This limit may be extended an additional four (4) months by the Council.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 314 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-43 Supervision and control of county agencies. [1]

Except as otherwise provided in the Charter or in state law, all agencies of the county government shall be subject to the direction, supervision and control of the County Executive.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 401 of the Harford County Charter.

§ 4-44 Agencies enumerated. [1]

In the Executive Branch of the county government, there shall be a Department of Law, a Department of the Treasury, a Department of Planning and Zoning, a Planning Advisory Board, a Department of Public Works, a Public Works Advisory Board, a Department of Parks and Recreation, a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, a Human Relations Commission, a Personnel Advisory Board, a Department of Procurement, a Board of Estimates and any other agencies established by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See also Sec. 402 of the Harford County Charter.