Councilman wants council to approve marina nominees

CRISFIELD — Who gets the last word on approving the mayor’s nominees to the Somers Cove Marina Commission is being challenged by Councilman Mark Konapelsky. When the state devised the commission it provided for the mayor to be the sole determiner of the two appointees that would be seated on that seven member board for four year terms.

The city’s code book, however, says mayoral candidates to boards and commissions are finalized only with the approval of the City Council. The current members on the marina commission, Councilman Mike Atkins and Tillie Doyle, the wife of Mayor Kim Lawson, were appointed by Mayor P.J. Purnell without a council vote. Ms. Doyle is completing the term of former member Casey Todd, and Dr. Atkins is now the commission’s chairman.

Mr. Konapelsky investigated this distinction in how appointments are made with Maryland legislators and even the Attorney General but was told it was a local issue. At the Jan. 28 City Council meeting he motioned that council members bring to the next meeting names for consideration, even if that includes the current representatives.

City Solicitor Michael Sullivan agreed that the original legislation may have been flawed to not acknowledge council consent, but the marina commission is a state board and not a city commission. He said the city “does not have one iota of control” over marina operations.

Mr. Sullivan said it was “a dangerous precedent” and he would be sticking to the language in the code book. After several minutes of sparring, however, Mr. Konapelsky withdrew his motion.

He said after the meeting the approach to take would be to get the legislation amended through the General Assembly to include council consent on marina commission appointees. On Jan. 27 the County Commissioners appointed John Gaddis, superintendent of schools and a boat owner, to succeed Ladell Dorman. The other county representative is Keith Ward, a former charterboat captain who is now Register of Wills.

Three of the board members are appointed directly by the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources.

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