Never let it be said that Montgomery County legislators don't try sometimes to settle old scores.
Six House members, some of them still angry about the conduct of the May 1984 primary elections in Montgomery, have filed a bill that would strip the job of county elections administrator of the protection it now enjoys under the local government's merit system.
The bill would allow the governor to appoint a person to the historically Democratic post, which in the last 13 years has been filled by the county's three-member Board of Election Supervisors.
Several Montgomery delegates said the bill was sparked by the 1984 primary, when Elections Administrator Douglas Jernigan ordered local election judges to adhere strictly to the letter of the law and keep all electioneering at least 100 feet from the polls.
"A lot of precinct officials went bananas and I really can't blame them," said Del. Ida Ruben, a cosponsor of the bill.
"Precinct workers were breaking their backs for the party and they were being harassed" despite informal agreements permitting partisan activity near the polls, Ruben added.
Although it is unclear how passage of the bill would affect Jernigan, a Democrat who earns $55,262 annually, he was clearly unhappy about it yesterday.
"I'm not only surprised, I'm shocked," said Jernigan, who was appointed in 1982. "Our job was to adhere to the elections law."