The difficult choice that the Wicomico County Council has before them is who is best for Wicomico County?
Delegate Carl Anderton, Jr., Wicomico County Councilman Joe Holloway, Dr. Rene Desmarais, and former Acting Director of Finance for Wicomico County Michele Ennis have put their names forward as potential replacements for the Wicomico County Executive position left vacated by the recent passing Bob Culver. The County Council will interview each candidate and then vote on the replacement. Whether or not Joe Holloway will recuse himself from the decision making process has not been made clear but it would it be in the best interest for the integrity of the process if he did.
Delegate Carl Anderton, Jr. is in the midst of his second term representing District 38B in Annapolis on behalf of Wicomico County. Anderton’s first foray into politics was on the Delmar Town Council and then eventually being elected as Mayor of Delmar, Maryland. During his tenure as Mayor he was elected as the President of the Maryland Municipal League and then in 2014 Anderton defeated longtime Delegate Norman Conway it what was billed as one of the biggest upsets in Maryland history. In 2018 Anderton ran unopposed for reelection. He has worked tirelessly on behalf of Wicomico County and developed strong relationships in Annapolis that would come in handy for any County Executive.
Councilman Joe Holloway was first elected in 2006 to the Wicomico County Council and easily won reelection every time. Often challenging former Executive Bob Culver on many issues,he and the Council were often frustrated with Culver’s actions. Recently Joe threw up some roadblocks up to the issue of getting water to the Salisbury Airport, which potentially jeopardized available funding. This was certainly not a good look for Joe. Always a stickler for process and integrity, Joe’s first step should be stepping aside from being a part of the process for the replacement of Culver, and only participate as a candidate.
Dr. Rene Desmarais is a well regarded cardiologist in Salisbury and in 2014 ran for the open House of Delegates seat in District 37B. Since that time he has not been politically active and is seen as an outsider in this situation.
Michele Ennis, the former Acting Director of Finance who was never appointed, has put her name forth as a candidate. The purpose of this move seems to be more vindictive than anything as she was at the center of controversy between the Executive Office and the Council with regards to appointments. More to the point – she never formally appointed by Culver and in 2019 the County Council assumed since she was in acting capacity in that position, they regarded that as being appointed and then voted against her appointment. However, Culver allowed her to remain in that position in an acting capacity without seeking a replacement. Without formally being appointed, this put Wicomico County in a difficult position with regards to acquiring any bonds for public projects required a Director of Finance and County Attorney, which the County had neither.
For Wicomico County, the future is now, and that future is Carl Anderton, Jr. who brings a fresh perspective to a County Government that needs to be reorganized and ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow. Old divisions need to be healed and transparency between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch is needed to move forward as a team. Relationships in Annapolis are a must and Anderton can bring that on day one. Great leaders bring people together to accomplish great things. Creating a larger divide between the County and its municipal governments negatively impacts the economy of the region, these divisions need to be eliminated to strengthen our partnerships and build our economy. Carl is the only candidate here who has that capability and he is the best choice for Wicomico County.