Members of Arundel school board nominating panel sue over removal
A debate that started in the General Assembly over control of a panel that screens candidates for Anne Arundel County's school board is headed to court.
Four members of the county's School Board Nominating Commission have filed an appeal in Circuit Court questioning the constitutionality of a new law that calls for them, and one other member, to be removed by the end of this month.
Democrats in the General Assembly passed the measure in March and last month overrode Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's ensuing veto. That was one of several clashes between the governor and legislators over the limits of power. About 20 bills were introduced by Democrats that the governor's office identified as targeting his powers.
The law relating to the school board nominating group removes all five commission members who were appointed by the governor and adds new members — including representatives from parents and minority groups as well as two additional appointees for the county executive and a second business chamber seat.
The measure expands the body from 11 to 13 members. New members are scheduled to join the commission June 1.
Nominating Commission Chairman Jamie Falcon and members Kam R. Gast, Susannah Warner Kipke and Joan Maynard formally appealed the measure Friday, saying the legislature overstepped its authority by targeting the governor's appointees for removal without reconstituting the entire commission.
Falcon, Gast, Kipke and Maynard were all appointed by Hogan last July to four-year terms.
A brief submitted with the appeal contends that under the state constitution, only the governor has the power to remove officers appointed by the executive branch. The brief calls the law “an attempt by the Legislature to override the established public policy of Maryland” and a “violation of the separation of powers.”
The lawsuit asks to postpone changes to the commission until a decision is made.
The office of Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, who is named as the defendant in the case, declined to comment.