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Cluster Files Revenue Authority Legislation

Del. John Cluster expresses optimism about proposed law changes as revenue authority officials appear at Friday morning meeting.

Del. John Cluster says he's optimistic about the chances of passing three bills that would change how the Baltimore County Revenue Authority operates.

The Parkville Republican's comments come as William "Lynnie" Cook, chief executive of the quasi-public agency, is scheduled to appear before members of the county House of Delegates delegation.

Cluster said the trio of bills is aimed at shortening the leash on the agency that manages county golf courses and parking facilities.

"They've had too much autonomy," Cluster said. "I think we need to give them a little less independence."

The authority was created in the 1950s by the General Assembly. Under state law, any changes to how the authority operates must be done by state legislators.

Cluster has already introduced one bill that would require the authority to obtain the approval of the County Council before it could sell off any land. The change to the law would bring the authority into alignment with other county agencies that  already need council approval for such sales.

Cluster said he hopes the passage of the bill will prevent the sale of the Lavender Avenue parking lot in Parkville. The lot is slated to be sold and developed, despite opposition from business and community leaders.

The bill was filed as emergency legislation and if passed could become law before the end of the 90-day session.

A second bill would apply county ethics laws to employees and board members of the authority. Cluster said he drafted the bill after reading reports in Patch that highlighted a loophole in which to the agency.

Cluster said he has 11 co-sponsors on the bill including four Democrats—enough to ensure the proposal moves out of the county delegation and to a possible full vote of the House.

It is not clear if County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who appoints the five-member board, .

A third bill would change how the authority handles procurement issues. Cluster said he drafted that bill after Patch reported that the agency side-stepped bidding rules typically followed by other government entities and entered into .

Cluster said current law gives the agency the power to set its own procurement rules and then avoid them if they so choose.

"They're a Baltimore County agency whether they think they are or not," said Cluster, referencing earlier statements by as it is.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Buzz Beeler January 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Del. Cluster, like myself is a retired Baltimore County Police Officer and I'm sure he'll keep a watchful eye on many of these issues. Integrity in government is always paramount.
K Blue January 21, 2012 at 03:54 AM
Excellent. I hope Del. Cluster gets the support he needs. The General Assembly was responsible for creating this agency; they need to set clear direction and limits that the Authority can follow without confusion among the Authority Board members and its staff.
Josephine Hlatki January 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Good work, Del. Cluster. Thank you from all of us fed up with the corruption in Maryland Government. I was hoping you would act after hearing you speak out at the excellent Town Hall you recently held about the new taxes...excuse me...fees being thrust upon us without a vote. Although it's too late for the Mt Vista Golf Course that Kamanentz in his wisdom took from the Kingsville Community after protest, hopefully more bullying will be averted by these new bills. This link is the 4-7-11 article on the Parkville Lot. http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/2011/04/balto_co_revenue_board_release.html#more Be sure to call your Delegates (click below) to get them to back these bills and while you're at it, remind them we are watching them for the next election. http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/06hse/html/hsedist.html

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