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With New Ethics Rules, Chevy Chase Village Board May Shrink

by Aaron Kraut — March 20, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

Chevy Chase Village Hall and police headquarters

CORRECTION 1:35 p.m. Chevy Chase Village is a municipality, not a special taxing district. Board Chair Pat Baptiste says she has not indicated whether she will run for re-election.

If not enough candidates show up to take the six vacant seats on Chevy Chase Village’s Board of Managers, the muncipality with its own 17-member police force may shrink its seven-member governing body to five.

If the Board can’t get to five willing members before the April 15 deadline to enter its May 4 election, it’s unknown what will happen in the 0.5-square mile town of nearly 2,000 people bordering D.C.

Two Board members left their posts last year in protest of stronger state ethics laws for municipal officials that Village officials say shouldn’t apply to a town of such a small size. But last week, the Maryland State Ethics Commission voted down Chevy Chase Village’s second exemption request from the rules, which require elected town and municipal officials to make detailed disclosures of financial holdings, properties and a spouse’s stocks and bonds.

Six of the seven Board positions are up for election, including the posts of Chair Pat Baptiste, Gary Crockett, Richard Ruda and David Winstead. Those vacancies are for full two-year terms. The positions vacated by resigned members Peter Kilborn and Tom Jackson include just the final year of those two terms.

Baptiste, a former County Planning Board commissioner and a one-time County Council candidate, says she has not indicated whether she would stay on. If fewer than six residents step up by the Village’s Annual Meeting on April 15 (and agree to file paperwork involved with the new ethics requirements by April 26) then the Board will consider amending the Village Charter to reduce the Board size from seven to five members and the required quorum from four to three members.

“Most other Boards/Councils of municipalities have five members, and it is anticipated that if the Board has to resort to this approach, the Village Board will be able to carry on as it has in the past,” read an announcement from the Village yesterday.

Michael Denger, the remaining member of the Village Board who is not up for re-election, and the Village’s Ethics Commission will hold a meeting to explain the new financial disclosure rules at 7:30 p.m. on April 3 at the Village Hall (5906 Connecticut Ave.).

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