Arundel Council blocks public comments on Jones
Daryl D. Jones, the Anne Arundel County Councilman who begins serving a five-month stint in federal prison next month, made no announcement on his political future at Monday night’s council meeting.
But some county residents wanted to talk about it.
Karen Delimater, a Pasadena resident and frequent attendee of council meetings, attempted to speak about the Severn Democrat’s impending incarceration during a portion of the meeting that was open to wide-ranging public comment, but was prevented from speaking on the matter.
“It’s the elephant in the room,” said Delimater. “Or perhaps, we should call it the Democrat in the room.”
And with that, newly appointed Council Chairman Derek Fink, a Pasadena Republican, banged his gavel.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry,” said Fink. “This is not the right place for this.”
Delimater attempted to continue her remarks, but Fink again pounded his gavel.
“Well, there’s your government,” said Delimater, as she walked back to her seat.
Jones was sentenced in November to five months in prison on a single charge of failing to file a tax return. Jones, a two-term councilman, was first elected to the council in 2006.
Because the county charter is silent on the issue, the council has no power to remove Jones and the decision on whether to resign or stay on the council is entirely up to Jones. Monday’s council meeting was the first since Jones was sentenced.
Later in the meeting, when another resident addressed the council and criticized Fink, Councilman Jamie Benoit, a Crownsville Democrat, rebuffed the speaker.
Councilman John J. Grasso, a Glen Burnie Republican, who is one of two Republican councilmen that has called for Jones to resign, defended the residents.
“It’s called freedom of speech,” said Grasso. “You’re welcome to say anything you want to say. My feeling is, if you’re not man enough to take it, it’s time to resign."