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Mayor of Taneytown to propose an amendment to the city charter to allow a recall of elected officials through a petition process

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The Mayor of Taneytown (Christopher G. Miller) announced the following on December 5th:

As your Mayor, my commitment to a transparent, accountable, and responsive local government is unwavering. Tomorrow, I will bring forward for discussion a proposed change that reflects a deep respect for our city charter — a foundation that must be amended only with thorough consideration and clear communication of its purpose and impact.

Our current city charter allows for the recall of elected officials only through a process initiated by the Council’s censure. This process, while essential, can limit your ability, the residents, to hold us, your elected representatives, directly accountable. It relies on the Council to take the first step towards accountability, which may not always reflect the community’s needs or expectations.

Since assuming office, a pivotal question has consistently guided my approach to governance: ‘How can accountability be ensured when the Council does not hold itself accountable?’ After much deliberation, I’ve come to realize that the most effective answer lies in empowering our residents with the ability to hold their elected officials accountable. It is a fundamental principle of democracy that no elected official should fear the prospect of being held accountable by those they serve, nor should they fear transparency which leads to accountability. This belief underscores my commitment to ensuring that the power to recall elected officials rests rightly in the hands of the residents of Taneytown.

I propose an amendment to our city charter that retains the Council’s power to issue censures, ensuring that this important tool of governance remains intact. However, this change would introduce an additional, critical mechanism: it would empower you, the citizens of Taneytown, to initiate a recall of elected officials through a petition process. This ensures that if the Council does not hold itself accountable, you have the means to take action.

Why is this change necessary?

–Dual Accountability: This change would complement the Council’s censure power, providing a direct way for residents to express concerns and take democratic action.
–Citizen Empowerment: It empowers you to engage directly in governance, ensuring elected officials remain answerable to those they serve.
–Strengthening Democracy: This enhancement to our accountability mechanisms fortifies our local democracy, fostering trust and active civic participation.

My end goal with this proposed change/discussion is to ensure that elected officials in Taneytown are always accountable to the people they serve first and foremost — you, the residents of the City. This change would be a step towards reinforcing that commitment.

This change would allow any elected official of the City of Taneytown, to face recall should they be petitioned to it. Including both Mayor & Council. It also advocates for elected officials to continue to make their case on why their actions are in the best interest of the residents of Taneytown.

Join the conversation at the City Council meeting on December 6, 2023 at 7:30PM. Your perspective is vital as we consider this important step. Together, we can ensure that Taneytown remains a city where every voice is heard and every action by its leaders reflects the highest standard of accountability to its residents.
If you’re unable to attend the upcoming meeting yet wish to express your thoughts or concerns regarding this charter change proposal, I warmly encourage you to get in touch with me. Feel free to email me at cmiller@taneytownmd.gov or call me at 443-487-3115. Your input is invaluable, and I am always here to listen and discuss any matters that are important to you, our residents

Thanks to all those staying involved & I’ll continue pressing forward with accountability, climate, & culture change here at the City of Taneytown.

Christopher G. Miller
Mayor of Taneytown

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(note – the significant part of the announcement above was bolded by The Observer so you did not miss it)

My guess is that this proposed change on December 6th will generate a VERY spirited discussion on the topic.

You can watch the meeting on December 6th here on the Taneytown YouTube channel:


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