- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
An additional tribute to the life of the recently deceased J. Frank Raley is his mentoring role in the 1980s to the St. Mary’s County League of Women Voters. Its members were seeking to inform the county citizens of the three forms of local government permitted by the state of Maryland — commissioner, code and charter — with the recommendation of moving to the charter form for St. Mary’s County government.
J. Frank Raley’s guidance steered the members to meet with the state attorney developing the wording at the top of each page, later used for signatures by county voting residents. The percentage of voting signatures presented to the county commissioners mandated that the question be voted as a referendum by the electorate. With J. Frank Raley’s quiet, knowledgeable role the members of the League of Women Voters educated the public about the variance in power of local governance opportunities.
Unfortunately the charter that was subsequently written by a charter-writing board was so bad that the St. Mary’s County League of Women Voters denounced it prior to the election.
This was a second attempt of moving from commissioner to charter government in this county. Nine Maryland counties currently operate with charter government: Montgomery (since 1948), Baltimore (since 1956), Wicomico (since 1964), Anne Arundel (since 1964), Howard (since 1968), Prince George’s (since 1970), Harford (since 1972), Talbot (since 1973) and Dorchester (since 2002).
It is an honor to have worked on this issue with J. Frank Raley as mentor. In memory of this forward-looking man, would now be a good time to consider the advantages of charter for St. Mary’s County government?
Patricia Smith White, Leonardtown