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Wayne Tome, Port Mayor and Former County Commissioner, Files for Cecil County Council Seat

February 3, 2014
By Nancy Schwerzler

Port Deposit mayor and former county commissioner Wayne Tome has filed as a candidate for the Cecil County Council in this year’s elections, seeking to regain the District 4 seat he lost in 2010.

Tome is also the first Democrat to file in this year’s Council races, in which three seats are at stake: Districts 2, 3, and 4. Republicans have already filed in those districts.

He formally announced his candidacy during a weekend event at the Carriage House in Port Deposit, the historic old Jacob Tome property in the waterfront town. “We need to get back to the stage we were trying to set before we got derailed for the past few years,” Tome said in an interview with Cecil Times.

He cited delays in acquiring the Basell property for a new school of technology that forced the county to pay $4 million more than necessary for the site and the continued failure by county government to provide needed infrastructure to attract business and economic development to the county’s growth corridor.

“The I-95 corridor is a hotbed of activity” in nearby areas, Tome said, but Cecil County lacks the water, sewage treatment and high-speed Internet services that new or relocating businesses seek. “We need to sit everybody down at the table with a stake in it and look for public-private partnerships,” he said. That would include private utility companies, the county government, and towns that provide such services.

Tome served one term as a county commissioner until he lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary to former county superintendent of schools Carl Roberts. But Roberts was defeated in the 2010 general election by Diana Broomell, a Republican.

Broomell was a key member of the “Three Amigos” faction of the commissioners board for two years, during which the trio rejected acquisition of the Basell property and killed the proposed sale of county sewage plants to the private Artesian firm. As a result, the county now is having to pay for costly maintenance of several plants.

Broomell has said she plans to seek re-election but so far has not filed her candidacy. Two other Republicans have already filed as candidates in the GOP primary for her seat: Michael W. “Good Mike” Dawson, a Verizon employee and previous state Delegate candidate; and George Patchell, executive director of the county’s YMCA for many years.

Tome is a veteran of local government, currently serving his second term as mayor of Port. He is a former member of the town’s council as well. He is the Emergency Medical Services chief of the Water Witch volunteer fire company and he works as a Battalion Chief with the Baltimore County Fire Department, where he has been employed for 31 years.

During his tenure as a county commissioner, Tome was often seen as a champion of the county’s volunteer fire companies—to the exclusion of other issues, some critics complained.

Tome said it is important for county officials to remember that taxpayers cannot afford a fully-paid government fire and ambulance department so it is in the best interest of taxpayers and citizens needing services to work together to keep the volunteer programs strong.

Although he said the first year of Charter government seems to be “off to a pretty good start,” there is a lot of ground to be made up from the previous two years of “backtracking” by the then majority of the Commissioners board. And even now, there are signs of “penny-wise and million dollar foolishness.” He cited the foot-dragging on the acquisition of the Basell property and recent County Council squabbling over whether to support a modest pay raise for whoever is elected Sheriff this year.

The Basell site was “a no brainer,” he said, and the more than 90 acre site could provide an important resource for attracting business partnerships with the technology school that will occupy a renovated science facility on the property. In addition, locating the tech school there will free up Cecil College’s site for possible future needs, Tome added, instead of having to cede some land to a renovation of the adjacent old tech school.

He said he supports continued expansion of “articulation agreements” between the college and four-year universities so that local residents can complete a bachelor’s degree without having to leave the county.

Tome still has his old campaign finance account on file with the state Board of Elections, and had a balance of about $2,075 in 2012. Since then, he has filed an ‘affidavit’ report, stating that he has neither raised nor spent over $1,000 in the reports filed in 2013 and just a few weeks ago in 2014. He said he had no immediate plans to hold any fundraisers.

The well-known and experienced Tome could sail through his party primary if no one else files before the deadline at the end of this month. That would set up a fall fight with the winner of what will no doubt be a hotly contested Republican primary battle for the seat.

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9 Responses to Wayne Tome, Port Mayor and Former County Commissioner, Files for Cecil County Council Seat

  1. Ron Lobos on February 4, 2014 at 7:41 am

    I agree with Wayne that too much foolish spending has gone on over the last 5 years, but no one was forced to pay $4M too much for the Basell property. It should be noted, however, that the Three Amigos (Broomell, Dunn and Mullin) stood in the way of the original deal which I feel would have been acceptable.

    I supported the purchase of this property to improve the county school system, but it was only poor negotiating on behalf of our elected officials that led us to pay too much. What were they thinking?

    I’m not quite so sure what the big hurry was in the negotiating of this purchase. Common sense says that we were in the bird seat in trying to purchase this property since it was left sitting vacant for many years with no other prospective buyers on the table. Kinda leads some people to believe that there was more to this purchase than what meets the eye. Just saying.

  2. Joe C on February 5, 2014 at 7:46 am

    Again, a point of correction, the Cecil county taxpayers are NOT paying for the maintenance on the waste water system, the CURRENT rate payers are footing the bill. Just as we are going to be footing the bill for the expansion of the route 40 wastewater system. There is no evidence that general tax dollars have been transferred to the enterprise fund.

    I do not have a problem with the expansion only that it be done with fairness. Current rate payers should not pay to expand service to those who will benefit financially by the expansion. Let those who benefit pay for the project (bond payment), pay the hook-up fee for future treatment plant expansion, pay for the physical connection and the quarterly service fee. It is petty amazing that those screaming the loudest for the expansion either have a vested interest (usually property along Rt 40) or are NOT current rate payers.

    It is easy to spend other people’s money. What is even more amazing is the leader of CBL wants to suppress FREE Speech when it does go along with their agenda. (Proof in the recordings of the Cecil County Council Meeting 2/4/2014, ccgov.org) Is this not what third world dictators do to suppress opposition?

    • David W on February 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Point of correction. Current rate payers are not “footing the bill”. The adopted sewer rates and connection fees includes both current and future customers in the model.

      Another point of correction. I’m a zealot for 1st amendment rights, so I listened to the 2/4/2014 Cecil County Council Meeting audio. The entire recording. Although I was appalled by a number of things I heard, I did not hear a suppression of free speech.

      • Joe C on February 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

        Listen again!

  3. Joe C on February 5, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    The previous post contained a typo, the sentence should read..

    What is even more amazing is the leader of CBL wants to suppress FREE Speech when it doesn’t go along with their agenda. (Proof in the recordings of the Cecil County Council Meeting 2/4/2014, ccgov.org).

    • David W on February 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Again, I did not hear anybody wanting to suppress free speech.

      • Joe C on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm

        You only hear what you want to hear! I was there, were you?

        • David W on February 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm

          I listened to the audio. And, again, I didn’t hear anyone wanting to suppress free speech.

  4. Joe C on February 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Hopefully Mr. Tome will push for full transparency on the sale of the Basell and push for full disclosure of those involved with the LLC who sold the property.

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