Annapolis, Md. -
Not even 24 hours after the guilty verdict, the Anne Arundel County Council is getting ready to remove John Leopold. The bill would oust Leopold, following a judge's verdict.
Judge Sweeney found Leopold guilty of Misconduct in Office for having county employees do campaign activities and guilty for having a subordinate empty his urine bag. The ruling automatically suspends Leopold, but the county attorney says the council is moving too fast.
Jonathan Hodgson says according to the county charter, Leopold can't lose his job until he's sentenced.
"They would be acting outside of the scope of the authority under the charter and therefore it would be invalid," said Hodgson.
Council Chairman Jerry Walker says an amendment will be introduced to consider the attorney's advice. At least one member is concerned the Leopold appointee may let his politics get in the way.
"This matter could pit the person who appointed him to that office against the legislative branch," said Jamie Benoit, (D) Anne Arundel Co. Councilman.
Upstairs at the Arundel Center, the sign still carries John Leopold's name, but John Hammond is the Acting County Executive.
"We're a customer service organization. We got to provide good customer service. We probably have to redouble our efforts now because we've taken a bit of a black eye," said Hammond.
Hammond was one step down from Leopold, as the Chief Administrative Officer. He will fill the seat until the council, county attorney, and Judge Sweeney all put their marks on John Leopold's future.
"I've got a lot invested with the county and I want to see the county continue to thrive and be successful," said Hammond.
The judge and attorneys in the Leopold case are supposed to talk on Thursday to set a sentencing date. But the council already has a date, Monday at 7 they are scheduled to vote on the bill.
They need five out of seven members to be in favor of Leopold losing his job. On Wednesday, six members co-sponsored the bill.
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