CENTREVILLE — Centreville residents Daniel Worth and Mary James have filed suit against the Centreville Town Council, asking Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court to order the council members to fulfill their official duties by scheduling an election to seat two additional members.
Both were active with the movement to increase the council to five members and collected most of the signatures to get the referendum question on the ballot. Centreville voters overwhelmingly endorsed the charter amendment to change the number of town council members from three to five in the Oct. 7, 2019, election, 588 for to 77 against.
Worth and James said they are frustrated with the council’s lack of action. According to their interpretation of the town charter, passage of the referendum created two vacancies on the council, which should have been filled by special election between 60 and 90 days after the Oct. 7 vote was certified.
James said the council has ignored the will of the people.
“I’m tired of the council doing whatever they want,” James said. “They didn’t do what they were supposed to; they didn’t do what the charter said.”
The votes were certified Nov. 16, at which time the change to the charter became effective, Worth said.
“All they had to do was determine when do the terms end and be done with it. They’re really just trying to stall,” he added.
In November, the council decided to form a committee to come up with suggestions as to how to implement a five-member body — a move James called “passing the buck” and Worth described as “dragging it out.”
The committee held its first meeting Dec. 19 and is still working on suggestions, which are expected to be presented to the council at the Feb. 20 meeting.
Both Worth and James said they believe the council wants to wait until the next regularly scheduled election in October before seating additional members — and that’s too long to wait.
Town Councilman Tim McCluskey said he could not comment on pending litigation and the council has not been briefed on the suit by the town attorney. He said that would probably happen at the Feb. 20 meeting.
Neither Council President Jim Beauchamp nor Council Vice President Jeff Morgan responded to requests for comment.