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Woman Ejected from Council Meeting

A regular attendee at council meetings was removed by police during Tuesday's meeting after disputing her allotted public comment period.

The chairman of the Anne Arundel County Council ordered the chambers to be evacuated after a woman refused to take her seat during a public hearing on Tuesday.

At the beginning of each council meeting, the chairman opens the floor to public comment. Members of the public are given two minutes to address any topic that's not on the agenda. 

Karen Delimater of Glen Burnie was ordered to leave by police after she ran longer than her allotted two minutes and refused to step away from the microphone. She was then barred from entry. After that, all attendees were asked to step into the lobby during a brief recess that was called after the disruption.

Delimater and several members of her family have become fixtures at the public hearings. They have railed against topics ranging from the council's use of the word "emergency" to denote an agenda item that requires immediate action, to allegations of constitutional violations, saying that limiting comments to two minutes is a violation of their freedom of speech.

A showdown between Council Chairman Derek Fink and Delimater had been brewing for months. In December, moments after being appointed as chairman, Fink had to bang his gavel after Delimater made disparaging comments about then-councilman Daryl Jones, who had been sentenced to federal prison. In recent meetings, Fink has had to use his gavel even more, and motion to police who sit in the back of each meeting.

Normally, Delimater takes her seat. But on Tuesday, things got out of hand after Delimater went longer than her allotted two minutes, then refused to sit down after Fink banged his gavel over and over.

After the meeting, Delimater contacted Patch stating that an email from the council indicated the public comment period is three minutes, not two. Delimater was referencing an email sent to the public at the beginning of each month, with an attachment that shows items on the proposed agenda.

The body of the email does indicate three minutes for public comment—but the attachment states two minutes.

Before the public comment period is opened each meeting, Fink also reads from the council's rules, stating that two minutes is given to the attendants to speak, and a timer in front of the speakers ticks away the seconds before they must conclude their statement.

Council's Administrative Officer Beth Jones said the email in question is sent by the IT Department, but the correct time is listed on the attachment—two minutes.

The mention of three minutes was a mistake, and has been corrected for future emails, Jones said.

BadStatistics September 07, 2012 at 11:45 AM
@Patrick H. Your comment is unrelated to my above comment on speech and debate competitions, and takes my simple fact out of context so that it appears to be negative. It was just a fact, please retract your comment and post a public apology.
Mr. Average September 07, 2012 at 01:08 PM
So...we know what she did to be removed (too much time), we know what the council did and didnt do (banged a gavel and sat there), but I still dont know what it was all about ? Come on Frank, why the dust up ?
Brutus Henry September 10, 2012 at 05:37 AM
At a meeting in January 2012 with Derek Fink, Karen Delimater and other citizens at his Glen Burnie office - Karen Delimater noticed a GIS map of all development projects planned in northern AA County (District 2 and 3). This was precisely the same information that she requested weeks before as part of the referendum process on the Marley Meadows project in an email request to Derek Fink as one of his constituents. She also followed up my email request with a phone call and Derek Fink told her that no such capability or information existed to be able to aggregate all of the proposed development projects. She told Derek Fink in front of two other witnesses that this map was the exact one sheI had requested and he said he knew that. She asked why he did not just send her this map, and his direct quote was "You Pissed Me Off." She has never received this map, nor has this map been released to his constituents so they can see all the new development in the already congested Pasadena area.
Brutus Henry September 10, 2012 at 05:42 AM
The AA County Department of Public Works was charging fees to private citizens, non-profit organizations, and pool-water hauling companies without the statutory authority to do so for at least one year. After this information was elicited by questions from Derek Fink and other council members, there appears to be no follow-up investigation into this alleged crime by county bureaucrats. In the weeks preceding the September 4th meeting, Karen Delimater was in contact via phone with all County Council members, Eric Robey, and officials at the Dept of Public Works to attempt to get a formal investigation into this department. John Grasso and Peter Smith were the only council members who returned voice mail messages on the subject. Chris Trumbauer's legislative assistant stated that it was being looked into. She is still awaiting the promised information from Eric Robey on what actions the county executive's office is taking in regards to this alleged criminal admission from county officials at a county council meeting. There has been a lack of follow-up investigation into to the Dept of Public Works.Derek Fink exerted his presumed "discretionary" powers as Chairman to quell free speech and redress of grievances before this information could be presented.
Brutus Henry September 10, 2012 at 05:53 AM
There is a strict definition of emergency stipulated in the County Charter which is the only criteria for the use of the expedited process of passing legislation. Karen Delimater spoke on the misuse of this EMERGENCY PROVISION by the Council and County Executive many times and provided copies to all council members and Alan Friedman from the County Executive's office stating that to continue to use this ordinance for budget issues which are not directly related to disaster situations (hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks, etc.) is a violation of the Charter. She even had the promise of John Grasso that if provided with the definition, he would vote No on any future bills using the emergency ordnance. An emergency ordnance for funding was on September 4th agenda. This provision is not meant to bypass the normal legislative process established in statute in Section 307 (d) and e) - but o protect citizens from loss of life and property The continued use of this provision to enact legislation for funding disenfranchises all citizens of the guaranteed constitutional rights. Sec. 208 (d). Legislative sessions; meetings of the County Council; quorum; rules of procedure. Emergency Legislative Session. "... the term "emergency ordinance" shall mean one which deals with an actual acute emergency necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, safety and welfare;"

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