Cecil County Commissioners Name Carrie Taylor, Smipkin Ally, to Paid Seat on Liquor Board

June 22, 2011

A majority of the Cecil County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to appoint Carrie L. Taylor– a member of the county’s Republican Central Committee, head of the local GOP Women’s Club and a key ally of the Smigiel-Pipkin political machine—to a seat on the county’s liquor board, a post that will pay her $2,500 a year.

Taylor, 31, a paralegal, was given the seat held for many years by Herrel “Cuz” Curry, whose three-year term expires in July. Curry worked for many years as a senior inspector for the liquor board before retiring and he was subsequently appointed as a member of the liquor board. Curry has also served as the President of the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun, which has honored him as one of its “top ten” fire responders, and he has been active in many community events and groups for years.

Curry had requested re-appointment to the panel, county sources said, and it appeared that he would be returned to the liquor board, which is formally known as the “Board of License Commissioners.” But suddenly, during a late Tuesday morning closed-door meeting of the County Commissioners, Taylor’s name was put forward by Commissioner Michael Dunn (R-3). Then, a few hours later, Taylor’s appointment was put up for a vote by the Commissioners during an afternoon public meeting.

Taylor also drew support from Commissioners’ President James Mullin (R-1) and Diana Broomell (R-4). But Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2) abstained, saying she had just returned from a family vacation and had not participated in a previous closed-door worksession discussion on the board vacancy.

Commissioner Robert Hodge (R-5) opposed the Taylor appointment because it was pushed forward within a few hours of first being proposed, and Commissioners were not being given a chance to review qualifications or propose any other candidates for consideration. (The final vote on Taylor’s appointment was 3-1, with Moore abstaining.)

Broomell responded that it was wrong to imply that the appointment was being “done in a sneaky manner.”

While Dunn remained silent, Broomell said that Dunn was “led to believe” that the Curry seat was his to fill since it represented his district. Mullin said it was “just an honest mistake.”

Other county sources said that when the old three-member County Commissioners’ board was in place, each Commissioner picked one member for the three-member liquor board. But when the Commissioners’ board expanded to five members, that old practice was abandoned and all commissioners were supposed to have a say in picking a candidate.

The snub of Curry, a well-respected community leader, may have some political consequences in the future for Dunn. The Rising Sun fire company is a strong institution in the community, with many members and supporters with long political memories.

Taylor was the second controversial appointment put forward, although with few if any words actually spoken in public, by Dunn in as many weeks.

Earlier, Dunn selected Owen Thorne, an activist with the ARCA anti-growth group, for the county planning commission. Thorne was appointed on a 3-2 vote, with Hodge and Moore in opposition because of the legal costs incurred by the county due to ARCA’s repeated lawsuits against county planning and other decisions. On Tuesday, ARCA lost its latest challenge, against the county’s sale of water and sewer plants to the private Artesian firm. (See Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2011/06/court-of-appeals-rules-cecil-county-can-sell-watersewer-plants-to-artesian-court-orders-arca-to-pay-some-county-legal-fees/

The selection of Taylor to the liquor board rewards a multi-titled member, and the only woman in a leadership role, of the Republican political machine in Cecil County organized by state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-36) and Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36).

Taylor is currently the treasurer of the Cecil County Republican Central Committee, which holds a 7-2 Smipkin-supporter majority. She is also the President of the Cecil County Republican Women’s Club, a post she won after Pipkin’s wife, Alisa, recruited a contingent of new members for the meeting at which the election for president was held last year.

Taylor also lost a Republican primary fight against William Feehley, who ultimately was elected as the new county Treasurer last year. Taylor also served as campaign committee treasurer for Ted Patterson’s losing Republican campaign for state delegate against incumbent Del. David Rudolph (D-34B)

Taylor was also a financial lynchpin in the Smipkin organizations financial maneuvers last year through which campaign funds were moved around among political clubs and candidate committees– including money pushed out of the Women’s Club account to a Smipkin-tied Political Action Committee that in turn pumped money into Taylor’s own political campaign.

It was the first time in recent history that the local Republican Women’s Club had contributed money during a contested GOP primary season. And the Republicans of Cecil PAC that donated to Taylor’s campaign—after her Women’s Club gave money to ROC PAC—also donated funds to Dunn’s campaign for county Commissioner.

Commissioner Mullin also donated to the ROC PAC and was a major bankroller of all the local Smipkin-backed candidates last year.

See previous Cecil Times report here:

The county liquor board position pays $2,500 a year to its two members and $3,000 a year to its chairman. Those figures are set by state law, sources said. (Most county commissions and advisory boards are occupied by unpaid volunteers.) The liquor board generally meets once a month, according to its website, and there are currently 145 liquor licenses issued in the county.

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10 Responses to Cecil County Commissioners Name Carrie Taylor, Smipkin Ally, to Paid Seat on Liquor Board

  1. Maria Wilson on June 22, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    So this woman will get paid a lot more than my county property tax bill? For one meeting a month? What a sweet deal. I wish that I could get the politicians to pay me this money for so little work so I could afford to pay my county tax bill!

  2. John Abbott on June 22, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Unbelievable. Broomell’s comment indicates a guilty conscience. Dunn ‘s moral fiber seems as strong as his backbone. And Mullin? What kind of game is he playing? Does he really think we can’t see through his actions?

    After watching from afar for the last several months, I am very concerned for Cecil County.

    If Taylor accepts this appointment, she will permanently be depicted in the same lot as the three that voted to give her this position. If she’s intelligent (or wants any political future), she will decline the offer.

  3. Joe Carabetta on June 22, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Carrie Taylor was forced to resign as Ted Patterson’s treasurer because it is against the law to be a treasurer and candidate at the same time– but many of Patterson’s campaign materials were never changed. Also, the Repubican women’s money was moved around and even ended up in Democratic hands. It is all in the elections records.

  4. Al Reasin on June 23, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Ah, the tyranny of the majority strikes again. While I’m sure that the vote would not have changed, not giving Commissioner Moore the courtesy of time to review the proposed appointment was impolite and not politically astute.

    As to Mr. Thorne, had I any say in the matter I would have opposed his appointment do to his blatant bias, but do realize it is to fill the 2 months of a previous board members term of office. The battle can commence if he is proposed for a full term of office; especially now that his organization’s lawsuit failed in the Court of Appeals after costing the county many thousands of dollars each month for those supposed temporary contact services by Artisan until the sale was final. This case has dragged on for almost three years while these additional operational costs have been borne by the citizens of Cecil County.

  5. Howard Beale on June 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

    I’m mad as heck and demand that the 3 Amigos henceforth be referred to as the Smipkin Stooges. Dunn’s appointment to make? Sign up for Smigiel’s Math 101 class: 3 board members, 5 commissioner districts. Dunn remained silent (a given) while Broomell said he “was led to believe” that it was his appointment to make. Led by whom?

    Mullin said it was an “honest mistake”. As opposed to a dishonest mistake? What happened to the Mullin mantra of “due diligence”. BTW, what does the law say about liquor board appointments?

    Taylor should withdraw her name and the commissioners should vote 5-0 for Curry. But the SMIPKIN ego does not allow for such actions. To them it is all about power.

  6. Alexis on June 23, 2011 at 9:20 am

    God help a SMIPKIN enemy who appears before the Liquor Board. Just as the “3 Amigos” do everything in their power to hurt SMIPKIN enemies, she will be a reliable SMIPKIN vote.

  7. F Gump on June 24, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Mullin should clarify his “honest mistake” comment. Was it not realizing that there are 3 liquor board positions and 5 Commissioners, so that it was not “Dunn’s appointment to make”? Was it that the whole move would be so clearly seen as having been “done in a sneaky manner”? Or was it a political mistake to not reappoint Mr. Curry? The “3 Amigos” have established a clear track record of back room deals to further the SMIPKIN agenda. They need to show some independence. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  8. Ed Burke on June 24, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Commissioner Broomell can clear up the perception that “this (appointment) was done in a sneaky manner.” All she has to do is provide a timeline of all conversations pertaining to the appointment. Having made accusations of back- room deals among the unnamed “good old boys” for years, and having run on a promise of transparency, she is now perceived as being equally guilty. What a wonderful opportunity for her to set the record straight.

    • Alexis on June 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

      Sneaky is as sneaky does.

  9. Ed Burke on June 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    We are waiting for Broommell to deliver some of that transparency she promised as a candidate. She is looking more and more like a Good Ole Girl.

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