Wayne Tome, Port Mayor and Former County Commissioner, Files for Cecil County Council Seat
Port Deposit mayor and former county commissioner Wayne Tome has filed as a candidate for the Cecil County Council in this yearâs elections, seeking to regain the District 4 seat he lost in 2010.
Tome is also the first Democrat to file in this yearâs 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. âWe need to get back to the stage we were trying to set before we got derailed for the past few years,â 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 countyâs growth corridor.
âThe I-95 corridor is a hotbed of activityâ in nearby areas, Tome said, but Cecil County lacks the water, sewage treatment and high-speed Internet services that new or relocating businesses seek. âWe need to sit everybody down at the table with a stake in it and look for public-private partnerships,â 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 âThree Amigosâ 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. âGood Mikeâ Dawson, a Verizon employee and previous state Delegate candidate; and George Patchell, executive director of the countyâs 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 townâs 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 countyâs volunteer fire companiesâto 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 âoff to a pretty good start,â there is a lot of ground to be made up from the previous two years of âbacktrackingâ by the then majority of the Commissioners board. And even now, there are signs of âpenny-wise and million dollar foolishness.â 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 âa no brainer,â 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 Collegeâs 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 âarticulation agreementsâ between the college and four-year universities so that local residents can complete a bachelorâs 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 âaffidavitâ 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.