Montgomery County Council members and aides to County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist have made compromises on the control of the county's cable television system that may soon end their months-long feud over the subject, the two sides said yesterday.
"It's obvious we are very close to agreement," said council President David L. Scull, who met for more than an hour Monday with Edmond F. Rovner, a top aide to Gilchrist. "Both sides have moved in their position substantially."
The announcement by Scull and similar comments by Rovner and other administration officials marked a shift in the war of words waged over regulations governing the membership of two committees that will advise the county on the use of a public access channel.
The feud came to a head Aug. 8 when Gilchrist vetoed a council bill that would have prohibited citizens who serve on the two advisory panels from participating in partisan politics or from holding a county job for 18 months after serving. Gilchrist opposed the restrictions as too strict for advisory panels.
Yesterday, the council failed to override the veto; five of the council's seven votes were needed to override, but the Scull-led majority mustered only four. Later, in a vote considered necessary for reaching a final compromise in the cable debate, the council decided to review the advisory board regulations in two weeks.
In a memo that got to most council members less than an hour before they began their regular weekly meeting yesterday, Gilchrist said he would accept the council's restriction that no advisory board members join the executive or council staff for at least a year after serving. He also agreed to accept one of the council's proposals regulating the participation of persons in partisan politics.
For its part, the council abandoned its earlier requirement to divide the task force members along party lines: two-thirds for Montgomery's Democratic majority and one-third for its Republican minority.
Aides to Gilchrist said he, like several council members, agreed to the compromises to avoid furthur delays in the start of the county cable service. The first phase of service is scheduled to come to Montgomery in late 1984. "We are closer now to settling this thing," said Rovner, Gilchrist's chief negotiator during the cable feud.
Both Rovner and Scull noted that the two sides are still divided over whether to allow elected officials, political candidates or those employes covered by the county's merit personnel system to serve on the cable task forces or the board of the county-managed channel. There is also sharp disagreement on whether the cable corporation that will oversee the public access channel will be controlled most by the executive or the council. Gilchrist has called for a largely independent corporate board, while Scull has insisted on council control over its articles and bylaws.