CECIL COUNTY CHATTER: Pipkin’s Birthday Gift, Cecil County Commish Secrets Out in Delaware

November 2, 2011


Sen. E.J. Pipkin’s Birthday Gift: GOP Leadership

So state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-36) hit the big 55 on Tuesday, 11/1/11, and fielded a lot of birthday greetings on his Facebook wall. But the best present he got was selection by fellow Republicans as their leader in the state Senate for the 2012 session.

While Pipkin was responding with a lot of repetitive ‘thank you’ messages to birthday well-wishers on Facebook, he really should have been sending a few dozen roses to Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Cecil/Harford). Jacobs recently announced she would step down as Senate Minority Leader so as to focus on other potential political races.

Jacobs’ decision—which may very well have been a pragmatic and pre-emptive move based upon a sub-rosa Pipkin campaign to oust her from the top GOP leadership spot in the state Senate—then cleared the way for Pipkin to win the leadership post from the tiny 12-member GOP caucus. During the 2011 session, Pipkin was the second-ranking Senate Republican, serving as GOP Whip to Jacob’s Minority Leader status.

Pipkin and his House of Delegates drill sergeant, Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36), have been garnering headlines and TV time with their made-for-sound-bites “war on rural Maryland” campaign attacking Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, with a blog and a new Facebook presence activated last weekend.

But for Cecil County residents, the ascension of Pipkin to the top GOP Senate leader position in Annapolis affirms the previous tea leaves sifted by Cecil Times that he won’t be running for Cecil County’s first elected County Executive in the 2012 election.

The early April party primary election in 2012 means that the campaign season for the local county executive primary would coincide with the General Assembly session during which Pipkin will no doubt be looking to make his mark and garner lots of Baltimore TV time, the better to bolster a potential statewide run for Comptroller or Governor in 2014.

So, many Cecil County folks will have yet another reason to send some roses of their own to Nancy Jacobs for sparing us the spectacle of a Pipkin run for county executive while he really has his eye on a bid for higher office.

Pipkin’s other birthday present came at a $250 a head (appetizers only) fundraiser in Queen Anne’s county that was billed as Pipkin’s “Save Maryland” event to boost his state-registered ‘friends of’ campaign committee that can be used to finance a variety of state, or local, election campaigns. We’ll have to wait until January, when the next campaign finance reports are due at the state elections board, to find out how much he actually raised. [See previous Cecil Times reports, which predicted this outcome, here:

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Cecil Commish Secrets are Out: Amigos’ Deals Highlighted in Del. Paper

Just when you thought that the adventures, or misadventures, of our Cecil County Commissioners were a closely-held secret known only to avid readers of Cecil Times and to some extent the Cecil Whig, now the secret is out to a wider audience.

Dan Schneckenburger wrote an op-ed column in the 11/1/11/ Wilmington (DE) News-Journal, headlined: “Help Wanted: A new, beneficial Cecil County government.” Schneckenburger is the former president of the county’s Chamber of Commerce, vice-president of the Charter Government advisory panel, a member of the 2005 citizen’s task force on wastewater and water planning, and a board member of the Fair Hill Nature Center.

With all those community service credentials, Schneckenburger is a long-time astute observer of Cecil County government. And he has been a staunch Republican Party supporter, so his acerbic commentary on the current all-Republican Cecil County Commissioners’ board cannot be dismissed as an opposite party attack.

Schneckenburger’s commentary assails the alliance of newly elected Commissioners Diana Broomell (R-4) and Michael Dunn (R-3), with Commissioners’ board President James Mullin (R-1) as “quite possibly the worst administration in the history of Cecil County.”

And “the new administration has demonstrated unprofessionalism in public meetings and been lectured on proper use of the state open meetings laws,” the author wrote.

After reciting the litany of what Cecil Times has been reporting for nearly a year—crony appointments to the liquor board and planning commission, the politically-motivated ouster of Vernon Thompson as economic development director, the killing of the Artesian sewage plant privatization, etc.,etc, — Schneckenburger concludes that only the 2012 election for the county’s first County Executive can rein in the excesses of the current Three Amigos and “eliminate them from day-to-day decisions.”

And, without advocating for any particular candidate, the author declares that the county executive election “cannot come soon enough.”

Well said, Dan.

[See his opinion piece here:

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2 Responses to CECIL COUNTY CHATTER: Pipkin’s Birthday Gift, Cecil County Commish Secrets Out in Delaware

  1. Tina Sharp on November 2, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    And that’s why I love that Dan Schneckenburger!

  2. Bob Gatchel on November 3, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Dan did a GREAT piece and I’m glad it got the notice that it should have! 😉

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