Anne Arundel deserves a fresh start in 2014

John Leopold has been found guilty of misconduct in office ("King of Arundel, deposed," Jan. 31). Like many people, I was horrified and deeply disappointed as witness after witness provided detailed accounts of Mr. Leopold's behavior in office. Simply said, Anne Arundel County, you deserve better! But now that the dark cloud of this trial is over, we can focus our attention on moving forward.

The first order of business is the appointment of a new county executive. The second, and perhaps more important, order of business is to restore integrity and credibility to county government. To this end, I encourage the council to appoint someone who will not be running for county executive in 2014. To do so would provide the potential Republican appointee an unfair advantage over other potential Republican candidates, let alone Democratic candidates running for an open office.

Let's level the playing field for all county executive candidates. Not doing so sends the wrong message to county residents and employees in the wake of the Leopold scandal. The council needs to take advantage of the opportunity to appoint a new county executive and move decisively to restore the integrity and credibility of county government.

Looking ahead to 2014, we should demand more from our next leader. From Brooklyn Park to Glen Burnie, from historic Annapolis to Odenton, from Crofton to Edgewater, with over 500 miles of shoreline, great schools, good job opportunities and low taxes, Anne Arundel County is a great place to live, work, and play. Our next leader needs to work with our school system to produce world-class graduates instead of arguing with it over annual budget allocations. Our next leader needs to work with our business community to develop coherent strategies that bring 21st century jobs to the county. Our next leader needs to work cooperatively with federal, state and local partners to ensure a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay. Our next leader needs to restore integrity and credibility to the county executive position and restore the morale of our county employees.

We need a leader who is a pragmatic problem solver, who can work together with residents, community organizations, and the council to craft real solutions to the challenges we face. Anne Arundel County, you deserve better and you can have it.

Chad Clapsaddle, Arnold

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