Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

MacFarlane Distortions of Fact

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I find it admirable that Mr. MacFarlane has such an active campaign and staunch support in the race for Registrar of Wills in Howard County. A fair and robust campaign is welcome and encouraged.
However, we need to stress a “FAIR” campaign.
Many of the statements Mr. MacFarlane and his supporters are making are inaccurate at best. I hope the editor will take a moment to review this letter which is intended to clear up some of the misconceptions that Mr. MacFarlane and his supporters made about:
• The condition of the office of the Register of Wills
• Kay Hartleb’s position on the Court House Renovations
• Mr. MacFarlane’s experience in estate planning
A recent letter to the editor in last week’s Howard County Times states that; “Byron is an attorney practicing estate administration who has been active in his community for over 10 years and is a lifelong resident of Howard County .“ The statement is carefully worded so that a casual reader might believe he has been practicing law for 10 years. This is curious because many attorneys practicing in this area have not heard of Mr. MacFarlane practicing among estate and trust lawyers. Additionally, a quick on-line research and found that Mr. MacFarlane was only admitted to the Bar in June 2009. He is also listed as a contract attorney.

UPDATE: As of September 2, 2010 Mr. MacFarlane is listed as an estate attorney. However, he needs to update his Linkedin Profile which states

Byron Macfarlane
Contract Attorney at Kelly Law Registry

Baltimore, Maryland Area
Law Practice
Current Contract Attorney at Kelly Law Registry
Member at Howard County Democratic Central Committee
Past Contract Attorney at Special Counsel
Member at Maryland Democratic State Central Committee
Law Clerk at Stahl & Block, LLC
Legislative Aide at Office of Delegate Peter Franchot
Paralegal Assistant at United States Department of Justice, Aviation and Admiralty Litigation

There is no record of Mr. McFarlane having every administered an estate in any jurisdiction in Maryland.
Frequent references to the necessary renovations to the County Court house imply that Kay Hartleb is strictly opposed to those renovations. Mr. MacFarlane calls it “obstruction”. Kay Hartleb is on record in testimony with the County Council in favor of the necessary renovations. Mr. MacFarlane narrowly focuses and distorts Kay Hartleb’s testimony as obstructionist. Given the current economic conditions and the county’s current financial status there is no immediate need to make all the renovations until economic conditions improve and the county is not furloughing employees. In addition, Kay Hartleb is opposed to the design of the temporary office space which affords little, if any, privacy to the citizens that the Register of Wills serves. Many of these citizens come to the Register’s office emotionally distraught, and with very sensitive financial information. The proposed temporary offices are an open office space in which Mr. MacFarlane expects citizens to reveal themselves emotionally and provide sensitive financial information in an open forum. Finally, Mr. MacFarlane does not seem to empathize with the hardship that many of the elderly citizen’s the office serves will have navigating their way to the temporary, but remote, office space.
Mr. MacFarlane has stated that he will improve the office by “Improving Access with New Technology”. Mr. McFarlane is unaware that the office has been entirely modernized. All records and forms are in electronic format and available (where appropriate) to the public. Records as far back as the 1930’s have been electronically filed, and this is the first register’s office to scan all estate files electronically. Kay Hartleb’s commitment to new technology adoption is one reason Howard County’s register’s office was choose as a test site for the roll out of additional state wide technology improvements.
Of course it is not Mr. MacFarlane’s job to point out that Kay Hartleb’s office has received “perfect” legislative audits throughout her tenure as Howard County’s register of wills. I am certain that he would do everything in his power to avoid discussing that point. It is his job to create uncertainty in Kay’s ability to continue to serve as the register of wills and convince voters that he is better suited to serve. In doing so Mr. MacFarlane is exposing his unfamiliarity with the office, its track record of modern technology adoption, and it’s compassionate and helpful service to the public it serves. In addition, his distortion of Kay Hartleb’s position on the Court House renovations betrays his lack of exposure to the current office location and lack of empathy the proposed temporary space would have on the elderly citizens the office serves.
Mr. MacFarlane’s campaign is merely based on carefully worded statements that enable him to hide his youth and inexperience, and inability to run a mature campaign that is fitting to the office he seeks.

David Keelan


Friends for Kay Hartleb


One Response to “MacFarlane Distortions of Fact”

  1. Justine said

    Hola! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic job!

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