David Marks, in his second year on the job, finds himself at the center of some criticism from his County Council colleagues related to several recent votes.
At issue is how Marks told his colleagues he would vote on three bills in the last year—a new speed camera contract, a transgender anti-discrimination law, and a request for condemnation on a west side property—and how he ultimately voted.
Council members did not want to speak for attribution about Marks' recent voting but said it's causing some concern that the councilman is unreliable.
Marks, for his part, says he's heard the criticism from some of his colleagues. He criticized them in turn for speaking to a reporter but not allowing themselves to be identified.
The Perry Hall Republican acknowledged that he publicly stated intentions to vote for speed cameras and the transgender law before ultimately changing his mind. He said he never committed to a position on the condemnation request despite criticisms that he changed his mind several times before the final vote.
Marks called the speed camera contract and transgender bill "some of the most ideological legislation the council has discussed."
Marks initially said he could vote for the speed camera contract because it was not a vote to expand the program. Prior to the transgender vote, Marks said he could vote for the bill if certain amendments related to public accommodations were adopted.
But his district, which is now more Republican as a result of redistricting than it was when Marks was elected in 2010, opposed both bills, he said.
There may also have been some political pressure placed on Marks by his own party.
Marks acknowledges being asked to vote against the transgender bill by Rep. Andy Harris and told by other members of the Republican party that the issue could be used effectively against him in a primary challenge.
But Marks downplayed the politics and said the desires of his constituents ultimately influenced his final vote.
"It's more important for me to cast a vote based on what my constituents want and that's what my goal is at the end of the day," said Marks. "That's more important to me than swearing loyalty to any one member of the council.
"Each of the council members—none of us is perfect," Marks continued. "Some of us have volcanic tempers at times and some times there are frayed relationships. I'll measure my record on what I've gotten done for the people I represent."
Marks said that if the tables were turned and his party controlled the council and wanted to pass more conservative legislation, "Democrats would be voting a certain way based on their districts."
Marks, who is one of two Republicans on the council, said his desire to build consensus is some times interpreted as wanting to avoid conflict.
The lesson here, he said, is that he'll now be more cautious about discussing his stances on bills.
In the end, the councilman said he was not concerned that the votes in question have hurt his ability to work with his colleagues.
"I've been a very productive member of this council," said Marks. "I think I've been very effective in working with my colleagues."