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Eye on Annapolis

The Daily Record's Maryland state government blog

Baltimore County school board member quits party committee to end legal conflict

A member of the Baltimore County Public Schools Board of Education has resolved, at least temporarily, a legal conflict between her role with the school system and her position on the county’s Democratic central committee.

Marisol Johnson (Baltimore County Board of Education)

Marisol Johnson (Baltimore County Board of Education)

Marisol Johnson, 37, said Wednesday that she has resigned her position on the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee. The resignation is effective immediately.

“This has been a distraction from the school board work that I am really passionate about,” said Johnson, who is vice chair of the county school board.

Her resignation comes a day after questions were raised about her school board and political activities.

Johnson was appointed to the board in 2015 and rose to become its vice chair, a position she currently holds.

A year later, she was appointed to the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee to fill a vacancy created by the departure of Shelly Morhaim, the wife of Del. Dan Morhaim.

The two positions, however, are incompatible under a 2014 law that establishes how members of the county’s board of education are selected. That law created a hybrid school board with seven of the 12 members being elected from the county’s council districts.

Johnson said she was recently made aware of the law and the conflict between the school board and central committee positions.

That law contains a provision that prohibits members of the school board from holding an elected or appointed government or political office. It also prohibits board members from becoming a candidate for political office.

Authors of the bill included the provision in an attempt to prevent a politicization of the board.

Johnson, in an interview Wednesday, said she only recently became aware of the provisions and said the immediate resolution was to resign from the central committee.

The issue could arise again if Johnson decides to run for the Baltimore County Council.

Johnson said she is considering a run for the Baltimore County Council but has not yet made a final decision.

She has established a campaign account, which allows her to begin raising and spending money on behalf of a campaign. Johnson said she has not yet started fundraising.

Johnson is identified on the website of Emerge Maryland as a candidate for the council position that is expected to open when current Councilwoman Vicki Almond runs for Baltimore County Executive.

Emerge Maryland is an organization that trains women to run as Democrats for political office. Johnson is a 2017 graduate of that training, according to the website.

Johnson said she has to determine how her candidacy would affect her family, her business, and her professional activities.

Johnson has four children ranging in age from 7 to 17 years old. She also is an agent for State Farm Insurance and has an office on Security Boulevard. Additionally, she is the president of the Security Woodlawn Business Association and is active in starting a new group — Amigos of Baltimore County, which provides resources to immigrants residents including Latinos and Hispanics.

Should she run for political office, Johnson would likely have to resign from the school board.

“I haven’t committed,” Johnson said of a run for the county council. “I don’t know what’s going to come down the pike.”

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