UPDATED (7:53 a.m.)—A Baltimore County Councilman who called for stricter rules on the use of county vehicles is facing stiff criticism from one of his colleagues.
Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, an Oliver Beach Democrat, said Monday night that Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, is only calling for the changes because he was questioned by a reporter for breaking a campaign promise not to take a county vehicle if elected.
"David didn't care about County Council policies on cars until he got his hands caught in the cookie jar by lying to his constituents, colleagues and staff," Bevins said.
Questions about the use of county vehicles by members of the council have intensified since the Feb. 23 arrest of Lutherville Republican Councilman Todd Huff on drunken driving charges while in a county-owned sport utility vehicle.
Marks last week admitted to using a county vehicle for the last few months after promising during the 2010 campaign not avail himself of the perk.
During that interview, Marks said he would like to see the council adopt a rule requiring councilmembers to turn in the keys to their county-owned vehicles when they are involved in an incident such as the one Huff was charged with.
Currently, councilmembers are not required to give up their cars when charged with drunken driving related offenses while operating a county vehicle.
"I think it should be required until the investigation is over and the court case is resolved," Marks said.
Marks said he would also like the council adopt a rule where the cars are not used to transport the members of the council to campaign events.
Bevins, who has been using a county vehicle since being elected to the $54,000 per year job in 2010, said she does not believe the rules need to be changed including the addition of requiring councilmembers to turn in the cars in instances such as the one involving Huff.
Bevins said Huff's decision to voluntarily turn in the Jeep Grand Cherokee was the right thing to do given that he reportedly registered a blood alcohol level of .20—more than twice the legal limit. Marks' proposal to force a councilmember to relinquish a county vehicle should only come into play if the councilmember is convicted, she said.
"You wouldn't want to do that to someone who is found innocent," Bevins said
Note: This post has been updated to clarify Bevins' position on the use of county vehicles when the driver has been involved in a drunken driving related incident. The councilwoman stated during the interview that she supported Councilman Todd Huff's voluntary relinquishing of the car. A proposed requirement for councilmembers to give up cars in such circumstances should only apply if there is a criminal conviction. In general, the first-term councilwoman does not believe the existing rules need to be changed, she said.