Balto. Co. councilman Oliver to resign from state job

Baltimore County Councilman Kenneth N. Oliver has told state officials he plans to resign from his job at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development after revelations that the position apparently violates a county charter rule prohibiting council members from working for the state.

Oliver put in two weeks' notice on Monday, said Karen Glenn Hood, a spokeswoman for the state agency. He has worked as a finance specialist there since February. He told leaders at the agency that his official resignation letter "would be forthcoming," she said.

Oliver, a Randallstown Democrat, did not return messages seeking comment Monday.

Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. said he spoke with other council members over the weekend, and they agreed that Oliver needed to resign from either the state job or the council because they believed he had violated the county charter.

Oliver informed Olszewski on Monday of his decision to quit the state job, the chairman said.

"All the other council members think this is a serious matter," Olszewski said. "I believe my council members will be glad to hear that Councilman Oliver has taken this action, and hopefully, it doesn't happen again."

Oliver's salary at the state agency is about $62,700. As a contract employee, he does not receive benefits such as health insurance or vacation time.

First elected in 2002, he earns $54,000 a year for his County Council position. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of writing $2,300 in checks to himself from his campaign funds. The next year, voters narrowly re-elected him to a third term.

The county charter says that "no person shall qualify or serve as a member of the County Council while he holds any other office or employment for profit of or under the state or county." Last week, County Attorney Michael Field said he did not know of any penalty in the charter if council members violated the rule.

In 2008, county voters rejected a referendum that would have allowed council members to work for the state. Olszewski and former Councilman Vincent J. Gardina co-sponsored a measure to put the question on the ballot. Gardina said he inadvertently broke the charter rule when he worked for five months in 2003 as a project supervisor at the Maryland Environmental Service.

Former Councilman Wayne M. Skinner also worked for the state during his time on the council from 1998 through 2002.

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