Muller immediately took the podium after that vote, cutting off Scheller, the chairwoman, as she said: "The motion to suspend the rules fails..."

"I want to address the board then," said Muller. "I am withdrawing former Commissioner McCarthy's name from nomination at this moment."

Scheller said that left nothing for the commissioners to vote on at the meeting and asked Muller what he intends to do about the position.

Said the county executive: "My intention is to have Mr. McCarthy continue on an interim basis, which he's allowed to do under our charter, and to bring his nomination back in the future."

Legal opinions

Mazziotti asked the representative from the county solicitor's office "if this is an appropriate action on the part of the executive."

Atty. Catharine Roseberry, the county's senior counsel, said Muller can withdraw his nomination and resubmit it as long as the commissioners have not voted on it. "It could not be resubmitted if you had voted no."

"Could we vote on the issue before us?" asked Mazziotti.

"It's no longer before you because he has withdrawn it," said Roseberry.

"It's on the agenda," said Mazziotti.

"That's only because of his submission of the appointment to you,"
said Roseberry.

But Ott argued that McCarthy's appointment was on the meeting's agenda because the commissioners wanted it on there. "It's our agenda," he said.

Ott also said Muller essentially was telling commissioners he's not really withdrawing the nomination. "He intends to delay and resubmit the nomination. He's just engaging in a stalling tactic."

Said Ott: "Since we control our own agenda and because we've just been told that it's coming back, a vote would seem to be not out of order."

Responded the county's lawyer: "There is really nothing for you to vote on." She said the county executive controls the nomination/appointment process under the county charter. "This is on your agenda as a result of the process started by the executive."

Briefly lightening the mood, Ott quipped: "There's a reason why we pay this woman as well as we do."

Because McCarthy's name was withdrawn by Muller, Roseberry assured Mazziotti that McCarthy cannot automatically become director of administration because commissioners did not act on his appointment.

"Once he is re-nominated, that starts the clock again?" asked Scheller.

"Correct," said Roseberry.

Ott also questioned why Muller could just verbally withdraw the nomination from the commissioners' agenda. Roseberry again backed Muller, adding: "I suspect he could have scribbled something quickly and given you a piece of paper if you need that."

Roseberry told Schware that McCarthy can continue as the county's acting director of administration for 90 days. She said he took that
position on Jan. 6 and can remain in it for no more than 90 days in
a one-year period.

Angry words

Directing his comment to Mazziotti, Muller said all he's done is stick to exactly to what the county charter allows him to do.

"I've done something you did not do at the last meeting," said Muller.
"I've been honest with you as to what I would do if you faltered, which is not what you did with Mr. Dougherty."

"I think that's inappropriate and I resent it," said Mazziotti. "Don't accuse me of being dishonest."