Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Experienced Leadership Counts…

Posted by David Keelan on Friday, July 28, 2006

I have heard some people suggest that because of his age Chris Merdon would not be a suitable County Executive.  In fact I understand that some candidates are campaigning on this issue when going door to door.  Rather than campaigning on their own strengths and experience they are trying to create doubt in Merdon’s qualification based on his age.

According to USA Today In 2002 over 800 people younger than age 35 were elected to public offices ranging from County Council, Mayors, and the US House of Representatives.  Adam Koenig currently serves the people of Kenton County Kentucky as a County Commissioner. First elected in 1998 at the age of 27.  The current Governor of Missouri is Matt Blunt.  He was elected at the ripe old age of 33.  If Matt Blunt can manage a $20 billion budget I think Merdon can manage a $1.4 billion budget. 

The Young Elected Leaders Project at Rutgers University has a great deal of information on the subject.

With that said I think it is important to distinguish age from maturity and experience.

Despite the fact that he is a New York Jets fan (and proud of it) Chris Merdon has a record of experience and acheivement that I think uniquely qualifies him for the position of Howard County Executive.

Government Experience

  • Has served 8 years on the County Council
  • Has represented Howard County on the Baltimore Metropolitan Council
  • Has inimate knowledge of the legislative process
  • Has served as the Vice-Chairman of the Howard County Liquor Board
  • Has both a BA and Masters in Public Administration and has been practicing those skills
  • A member of the National Association of Counties
  • Was a legislative aid to State Senator Christopher McCabe

Professional and Executive Experience

  • Regional Vice President with Affiliated Computer Services a company with over $5 billion in assets
    • ACS provides outsourcing services for administration; finance and accounting; human resources; payment services; sales, marketing, and customer care; and supply chain management to private business and government agencies
  • Supervises the activities of 100 people
  • Is responsible for $20 million in revenue
  • Previously Vice President with Computer Sciences Corporation

What we are asking our next County Executive to do

  • Manage an executive team responsible for the activities of 22 departments and agencies and over 2,000 employees
    • Human Resources
    • Administration
    • Finance
    • Public Safety
  • Manage an operating budget of over $1 billion
  • Manage a capital budget of over $300 million
  • Carry out policies established by legislation
  • Interact with the state and other local governments

Track Record

  • Co-sponsored legislation to limit tax increases
  • Opposed tax policies that have led to 5 tax increases in 6 years.
  • Proposed budgets that would have kept spending at or above existing levels without raising taxes.
  • Successfully sponsored legislation to provide citizens with planning and zoning documents, and other county government documents on the Internet.
  • Maple Lawn Farms – voted against it twice
  • Downtown Columbia rezoning – voted against it
  • 2005 Comp-lite legislation – voted against it
  • Sponsored and passed legislation to create a Zoning Counsel.
  • Worked to reform procedures for the Zoning Board, Board of Appeals, and the Planning Board.
  • Passed legislation to reduce the number of new housing units built in Howard County.
  • Strongly advocated and received start-up funding for several schools in District 1 and throughout the county.
  • Voted consistently to increase teacher salaries, enabling Howard County to attract the best and brightest teachers.

Chris Merdon offers a wealth of experience and expertise that sharply contrast with his opponents in the race for County Executive.  He is not a life long administrative bureaucrat.  His experience goes beyond running a 2 person law firm.

We have difficult problems and issues that demand the attention of a mature and experienced executive and legislature.   Chris Merdon is that person.


7 Responses to “Experienced Leadership Counts…”

  1. St. Johns Doc said

    I know Merdon and he is about as serious a guy as can be. This is no kid. He is almost too serious (not too loose).

    But absolutely he is executive material. He is an executive in his current line of work. He has come to my door every election since ’98 which is how I know him.

    He is a humble guy, unlike that epitome of arrogance that is his opponent. The anointed and entitled one, Ken Ulman.

    Obviously Stephen Wallis, “the independent candidate”, also referred to on this blog by his one supporter as “the educator” is the one going to doors snidely attacking Merdon on the basis of his age. Here’s an education for Wallis: If you use sneaky, negative attacks against someone when going door to door, it will find it’s way onto the internet. I hope you do not teach younger students that they are too young to achieve greatness!

    At least Merdon was always respectful of his opponents at my door. I fail to understand why he shows so much restrain when running against such a royally arrogant kid as Ken Ulman. He is too stiff and too positive. Someone needs to say what is true about Ulman: that his dad bought him his last seat and is trying to buy him the County executive’s seat.

    Really, would anyone take this arrogant child seriously if it were not for his family money and the connections it has bought? The adult should be in charge here. I’m writing a check to Merdon.

  2. Mary Smith said

    Again, the heat is affecting some thinking patterns and unfounded emotional charges are being lobbed about. “…sneaky, negative attacks”? I’m speechless at the prospect that an individual as reverent as Steve Wallis could be described this way. Personal attacks have been brutal over the past week. Calm down.

    Equally astounding is the claim that Merdon is humble. A tragedy of denial. Wishful thinking does not make it true. Also, comparatively not-as-arrogant does not make one “humble”.

  3. hocomd said

    St. Johns Doc seems to be blowing off some steam, but expresses some experience with Merdon.

    I don’t know if Mr. Wallis is trying to make Merdon’s and Ulman’s ages a campaign issue or not. I have hear Harry Dunbar often refer to his “young inexperienced opponents”.

    In my mind the issue of age relative to Merdon is a “non-issue”. When reviewing his record, his experience in both the private and public sector, his training, and his personal attributes Chris Merdon is the kind of person that I want to see in elected office.

    He is on the record as stating that he has no ambitions beyond county executive and that he will not campaign for another office – ever. Ken Ulman when asked the same question refused to answer. I don’t know if the question has ever been put to Mr. Wallis.

    Merdon is focused on solving the problems confronting Howard County. He is the best positioned candidate to do so…

  4. Mary Smith said

    I do not want to stir things up any further. But I have to ask, tiredly ask this question of St. Johns Doc. Are you a physician as your alias suggests? Do you know Michelle Melotti?

    I found it strange that you would go out of your way to communicate that you knew Merdon through door-to-door campaign visits. It seemed obvious until it was stated redundantly.

    If you are aquainted with Chris in ways other than door-to-door campaign visits, just say so for goodness sake. You’re allowed to know him and have a good opinion of him.

  5. hocomd said

    Please don’t bring a candidate’s spouse into the discussion. It just isn’t fair…

  6. Mary Smith said

    I knew you were going to say that even though this benign fact seems terribly relevent given St. Johns Doc alias and restating the obvious.

    This is the truth that needs to be known: Was the writer affiliated and hiding that important fact, or was this truly an objective observer who is puzzlingly upset out-of-balance with an event?

    I guess we’re left wondering.

    I would agree to leave families out of it if not relevant, and sometimes even if it is relevant. But in St. Johns’ original post, did he not mention Ulman’s family in a less than flattering manner? Comparatively speaking, my reference had a basis and was entirely benign.

  7. hocomd said

    Yes. I will expand upon my request to encompass all family members (whether by title or name). This race is about qualifications, vision, experience, etc. It isn’t about familial relationships.

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