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Mayor v. Lyon

Decided: June 16, 1964.

MAYOR OF THE CITY OF HAGERSTOWN
v.
LYON



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Washington County (McLAUGHLIN, J.).

The cause was argued before Brune, C.J., and Henderson, Hammond, Prescott, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ.

Prescott

PRESCOTT, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

We, heretofore, affirmed the action of the trial judge herein by per curiam order.

The appeal was taken by the Mayor of Hagerstown from an order of the Circuit Court of Washington County granting a petition for declaratory decree brought by the appellee, a resident of the City of Hagerstown, in his own behalf and in behalf of all taxpayers and voters in said City. The order declared that: the Mayor did not have the power to veto a charter amendment resolution passed by a majority of the Council of Hagerstown pertaining to an election to be held relative to the sale, other disposition of, or lease of the Municipal Electric Light Plant; the said resolution having been passed by a majority of the Council, the posting thereof and a publication of a summary of said resolution complied with the intent, purpose and substantive provisions of the Code (1957), Article 23A, Sections 13-17; the said charter amendment will become a valid amendment to the Charter of Hagerstown unless it is defeated on referendum as provided in Article 23A; the clerk make an amendment to the minutes of one of the meetings of the Mayor and Council, not here contested.

The case may be determined by answering these questions:

1. Was the trial court correct in holding that the enactment of the charter amendment resolution in

question is governed solely by State law and need not be enacted as an ordinance subject to mayoral veto in accordance with the procedure set out in the Hagerstown Charter?

2. Was the lower court correct in holding that the Mayor of Hagerstown is not a member of the legislative body of that City within the meaning of Code (1957), Article 23A, Section 13 (a)?

3. Was the charter amendment resolution invalidated because it was not presented to the Council in the form provided in Section 17 (a)?

No question is raised relative to a failure to join possible necessary parties. Cf. Pressman v. D'Alesandro, 211 Md. 50. And no contention has been made that the resolution has not been registered in accordance with Section 17 (f).

At a meeting of the Mayor and City Council of Hagerstown duly called and convened on February 13, 1964, at which the Mayor and all five members of the Council were present, a motion was presented by a member of the Council proposing the passage of a resolution amending Section 81 of the Hagerstown City Charter with respect to the procedure to be followed in connection with a referendum on "a proposed sale, lease or other disposition" of the Municipal Electric Light Plant, which resolution, including the summary thereof, was read in its entirety to the other members of the Council.

At said meeting, the Mayor publicly stated that he possessed the right to veto the proposed charter amendment and refused to permit a vote on said amendment until the charter amendment resolution was amended to include the following: "preserving the right of the Mayor to exercise his right to veto if he has such power." The amendment was added to the resolution and the resolution was then passed by a majority vote of the members of the City Council.

After the passage of said resolution, the Mayor refused to publish the summary or post the resolution as provided for in Section 13 (d) and (e) of Article 23A of the 1957 Annotated Code of Maryland. A complete and exact copy of the ...


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