Screen shot of Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz during an August Zoom meeting

As a vote to establish of a Human Rights Commission ordinance in Chestertown draws near, Nov. 2, Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz has sought advice from an anonymous lawyer over language on how the members would be selected.

In an email to other council members on Oct. 28, Herz said he sought legal advice from a friend.

“Colleagues – I asked for some general advice from a friend of whether the following statement in the proposed ordinance is legal:

The Chestertown Human Rights Commission shall consist of seven residents of the Town of Chestertown, of which not less than four members shall be People of Color.

Herz said the subsequent response from his friend led him to believe that the clause in the ordinance needed review from the town’s own attorney prior to the Nov. 2 meeting.

He said his friend concluded that the clause is “probably illegal.”

On Sept. 8, Herz voted in favor of a resolution sponsored by Ward 3 Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver that committed to establishing the Human Rights Commission with a racial makeup of at least 50 percent People of Color.

And no concerns from any council members have been expressed since the Human Rights Commission ordinance was introduced by Tolliver on Oct. 5, which requires at least four People of Color sit on the seven-member commission.

The Kent Pilot reached out to Herz to ask why his legal concerns were not mentioned earlier in an open session of the council.

“I look forward forward to discussing this with my fellow council members in the public meeting next week,” he said in a response. “I am eager to make sure the Human Rights Commission is the very best it can be for our small town.”