Chamber Forum: Commissioner Candidates Speak, Show Pictures

September 29, 2010

   The Cecil County Chamber of Commerce hosted a softball candidates’  forum Tuesday night,  with candidates for County Commissioner getting a chance to pitch their biographies and platforms without questions on issues. If pictures are worth a thousand words (or the four minutes of talk alloted to each speaker), then incumbent Commissioner Brian Lockhart (D-3) took the cake with his slide-show of ribbon cuttings for new or expanded businesses opened in the county on his watch.

  Lockhart, the current President of the county board, highlighted his participation in ribbon-cutting ceremonies for multiple businesses opened in the county since he won his seat in the 2006 election.  What he didn’t say was that some of the businesses had been courted by the county long before he took office.  However, he particularly mentioned the Monday “soft opening,” as the owners call it, of the new Hollywood Casino in Perryville, the state’s first slots facility.  That project, the result of a state-wide referendum on slots two years ago, did receive substantial support from the county on expedited permits and inspections that led to the early opening of a facility that has already created over 300 jobs.  The facility’s Penn National operators  have said that most of the jobs have gone to Cecil and Harford county residents.

   Lockhart. who owns two trash removal companies and is a board member of Cecil Bank,  said he went to the Monday “soft” opening of the slots facility and was pleased to meet so many Cecil County residents who have found jobs close to home. “It came at a great time,” he said of the revenues that the slots facility will bring to the county. He cited his experience as a small business owner to illustrate his commitment to support existing business in the county. “It makes me mad,” he said, when people only talk about incentives for new businesses. “We need to help the businesses already here,” he said, adding that he endorses a “buy local” agenda.

   His opponent, Michael Dunn (R) said the county “needs fresh ideas on the Board of Commissioners” and cited his “experience” working for Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36) as a legislative aide. He said he had worked with his family in the hospitality industry. Dunn said his agenda was “lower taxes, less government spending” and “jobs” in the county. He said he had been active with community and Republican groups for over ten years and noted he had served a term on the county’s Republican Central Committee.

  “We need to adopt a new path,” Dunn said. He said the county must “eliminate waste” in spending and “lower taxes.”

   In the 4th District Commissioners race, Democrat Carl Roberts, who defeated incumbent Commissioner Wayne Tome in the recent Democratic primary, highlighted his “executive experience” as the former county Superintendent of Schools and cited his resume for bringing “effective leadership” to county government. Roberts emphasized his campaign theme that the county is too reliant on  residential property taxes–constituting 61 percent of the revenues used to support county government costs– and  he urged business expansion to “re-balance” the revenue funding mechanisms of  county government.

    Roberts mentioned the concerns of county voters he has met, using their first names, and how he would address their issues. Among them are concerns by farmers that they have been ignored since there are now no farmers on the county board. “Agriculture is the single biggest business” in the county, he said, and farmland constitutes the largest land use.  He pledged to listen to and address the concerns of the farm community.

   His Republican rival, Diana Broomell, cited her “grassroots background” as a GOP activist and land preservation advocate. “I’m a hard worker,” she said, citing her involvement with the 21st Century Republican Club and efforts to bring about an elected county school board.

   Broomell obliquely criticized Roberts, saying that a former Schools Superintendent testified in Annapolis for a ‘special taxing district’  bill that did not provide for “school funding provisions.”  ( At the time that legislation was pending in Annapolis, Broomell was employed as a legislative aide  to Del. Smigiel, who strongly opposed the legislation, which was nevertheless enacted by the General Assembly.) That legislative authority, which has yet to be used by Cecil County Commissioners, allows assessments of fees against developers whose projects would cost the county for additional services required by their projects.

   In the 2nd District Commissioners’ race, Democrat Earl  Piner, Sr., a longtime Elkton town commissioner and former school board member,  said his most important qualification for the Commissioner seat was his personal “integrity” and his dedication to listening to the community.  He cited his many family members, all graduates of county schools, as proof that he would listen to parents and educators to ensure the schools have the support they need.

  Piner said he would bring the concerns of local residents to the Commissioners’  Board: “I want your input so I can bring it to the table,” he said.

  His GOP opponent, Tari Moore, said she and Piner had agreed to wage a positive campaign.  But most of her presentation sounded like past Carl Roberts candidate appearances that focused on the need for a “strategic plan” for the county. (During the Tuesday forum, Roberts only briefly mentioned needs  for a  ‘strategic plan.’)  Moore cited her experience as former executive director for the county’s Chamber of Commerce and said she knew how to help bring business to the county. She said her top priority was to bring “infrastructure” to the county’s growth corridor between I95 and Route 40.

  [Cecil Times will file a separate report on the Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum for state candidates for Delegate and state Senate.]

Harris, Kratovil Attract Big Donors in Run-up to Primary

September 13, 2010

(By Guest Blogger, Lou Peck– Contributing editor, CongressDaily)

Democratic incumbent Frank Kratovil and Republican Andy Harris – likely to face off this year in a rematch for Maryland’s 1st District House seat — have been attracting big-dollar donors at a steady pace in the run-up to Tuesday’s primary election, according to new reports filed through Friday with the Federal Election Commission.

Harris, who outraised Kratovil in the reporting period that covered July and much of August, pulled in another $46,300 from big-money individual donors and political action committees (PACs) in the nearly three weeks since the close of the prior reporting period on Aug. 25.

That’s somewhat more than the $38,900 that Kratovil received from PACs and big-dollar individual donors during the same three-week time slot.

The latest fundraising statistics by Harris and Kratovil are based on an examination of so-called 48-hour reports, in which candidates for Congress are required to report contributions of $1,000 or more received 48 hours prior to the primary or general election. The next full accounting of contributions to – and expenditures by – the Harris and Kratovil campaigns will not be available until the next FEC filing deadline in mid-October.

Kratovil is unopposed for renomination Tuesday, while Harris faces a primary challenge from businessman Rob Fisher. Fisher, who has pumped nearly $500,000 into a largely self-funded campaign, is seen as the underdog in the primary – notwithstanding an 11th hour endorsement Sunday from former 1st Dist. GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest.

Gilchrest was ousted by Harris in the 2008 primary; Gilchrest later swung his support behind Kratovil, who narrowly defeated Harris in the 2008 general election..

Although Harris has criticized Kratovil for reliance on “inside the Beltway special interests,” and Kratovil has run TV ads boasting of his record of independence from his party’s legislative agenda, both men have benefited in recent weeks from contributions made by some key inside-the-Beltway players.

Harris last week took in $9,800 – four contributions of $2,400 each – from officials of the Washington-based Carlyle Group. Under federal law, contributions from individuals are currently limited to $2,400 per election, with the primary and general considered to be separate elections.

The Carlyle Group is one of the nation’s largest and best-known private equity firms. The four Carlyle Group officials who donated to Harris – Peter Clare, Francis Finelli, Ian Fujiyama and Allan Holt – are involved with managing the firm’s holdings in the defense, aerospace and technology sectors, according to Carlyle’s Web site.

For his part, Kratovil recently attracted contributions from officials of several of the capital’s major lobbying/consulting firms. These include $1,000 each from R. Scott Pastrick, a former treasurer of the Democratic National Committee who now heads Burson Marsteller, a public relations company; Oscar Ramirez of the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm; and Anthony Harrington, an Easton resident who is chief executive officer of Stonebridge International, a consulting firm whose principals include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H.

Kratovil also reported receiving two $5,000 contributions last Friday from the American Federation of Teachers’ PAC. That total of $10,000 represents the maximum that a PAC can donate to a member of Congress during any two-year election cycle.

In addition, Kratovil last week received a contribution of $1,500 from the Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. PAC, bringing the total he has received from the Comcast committee to the legal maximum of $10,000. According to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Comcast has donated a total of $1.4 million to federal candidates during 2009-2010, at a time when it is lobbying hard for federal approval of its proposed acquisition of the NBC television network.

Closer to home, Kratovil received a $1,000 contribution from Glenn Weinberg, a vice president of the Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. The Cordish enterprise is currently seeking passage of a referendum on the November ballot in Anne Arundel County allowing construction of a slots parlor at the Arundel Mills shopping mall.

[UPDATE: Kratovil’s congressional press secretary, Kevin Lawlor, said Kratovil has not taken a public stance on the Comcast/NBC merger. While final approval of the deal is up to the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, some members of Congress have chosen to comment publicly in an effort to sway regulators at those agencies.

Lawlor also said that Kratovil has not taken a position on the referendum on whether to allow a slots casino at the Arundel Mills mall. While Kratovil represents a portion of Anne Arundel County, the mall itself is just outside the 1st District. In 2008, when a statewide referendum on whether to allow casino gambling in Maryland was approved, Kratovil “basically abstained” from that debate on the grounds that it was up to state and local jurisdictions rather than federal officials to determine how best to proceed, Lawlor added.]

Meanwhile, Harris – an anesthesiologist by profession – continues to benefit significantly from out-of-state contributions from medical interests. Non-Maryland physicians donated a total of $6,400 in individual contributions to Harris in recent weeks, on top of nearly $25,000 in similar contributions that Harris received in July and August. A couple of medical PACs chipped in another $1,000 each last week.

There are a couple of well-known Maryland names on the latest filings. Chicken magnate Jim Perdue, head of the Salisbury-based Perdue Farms, gave $2,400 – the maximum an individual is allowed for the primary – to Harris.

In Kratovil’s camp is Mayo Shattuck, chief executive officer of Constellation Energy – the parent company of Baltimore Gas & Electric. Shattuck donated $1,000, while another $2,400 came from Jonathan Thayer, Constellation Energy’s chief financial officer.

Candidates’ Forum: Civility and Cliff’s Notes for Cecil County Issues

August 5, 2010

  The first local candidates’ forum this week highlighted several hot-button Cecil County issues, and personalities, but the 100 or so people who attended the “Cecil County Patriots” forum for Republican county commissioner candidates heard some thoughtful observations,  politely expressed, as well as the (we admit it) headline-grabbing political outburst by one candidate.

   As The Cecil Times reported here within two hours of the forum’s conclusion Monday night, ( ) political newcomer Ted Kolodzey lashed out at the powerful GOP State Sen. E.J. Pipkin and Del.  Michael Smigiel, both R-36th District.  Three  political allies of the duo,  commissioner candidates from the Cecil Young Republicans Club, boycotted the forum sponsored by the local affiliate of the “tea party” movement.

   But apart from the brief moments of drama from one candidate, attendees were given a polite, almost academic discussion of a handful of issues, with each candidate given ample opportunity and time to respond to other candidates and to make a closing statement at the end of the evening. The forum was moderated by a member of Toastmasters’ International, who simply read questions and monitored times for responses but did not interject into the candidates’ statements.

   Some absentees from the forum have been attacking the event as some sort of a lynch mob, but for anyone present at the VFW hall in North East, nothing could be farther from the reality of the event.  Regardless of one’s agreement or disagreement with the “tea party” movement or the local group, the forum could not be characterized as anything but fair to all the candidates and raising issues of general interest in the county. There was no shouting, no catcalls and only some polite applause as each panel of candidates concluded their presentations.

   That said, some of the candidates had in depth knowledge, some had one-note responses on a variety of local issues and others had just a glancing familiarity with some basic points. So here is our report on the highlights of the issues and the candidates’ comments, with a few Cliff’s Notes for background.

    1. Artesian Water takeover of county water/sewer facilities: (County Commissioners sold county-owned water and sewage treatment plants to the private Artesian operation in what was touted as a way to get private funding for expansion of infrastructure in the I-95-Rt. 40 growth corridor. The sale is currently under court challenge.)

     Tari Moore, candidate for the GOP nomination in District 2, said that “aging” systems were a cost to the county and it was better to have them “sold” to “professionals” who could operate them properly. “I think it was a wise decision,” she said. Diana Broomell, a candidate for the Republican nomination in District 4, agreed with Moore’s assertion that “aging” systems were a burden on the county and better off sold to private interests.  Kolodzey, seeking the GOP nomination in District 3, said he favored privatization of many government services: “I support anytime anything goes private.”

    But former Commissioner Harry Hepbron, seeking his old District 3 seat, questioned the decision made after he left the board to sell the water and sewer facilities to private interests. He cited upgrades to county facilities during his tenure on the board and challenged the assertion that the county was unloading “aging” and deficient facilities. Since Artesian is a private profit-making company, citizens will clearly face higher user fees to allow the company to make profits, he said. Furthermore, by giving up water and sewer lines, the county has no power over where new lines go and loses its ability to direct infrastructure to the growth corridor. He said a better option might have been keeping county control over lines but outsourcing operation of water/sewer plants.

2. Revenue Growth, Spending Cuts– Moore said it was “absolutely critical” to promote economic development but also key to reduce “wasteful spending” by county government. Kolodzey said there should be significant spending cuts in county government and “they have to be forced.” Broomell cited her work organizing several “tea party” events last year as proof of her commitment to cutting spending by government and said the county budget should “start at zero” each year.

    Hepbron advocated a balanced approach, calling for expansion of the revenue base through incentives to business to locate in the county and create jobs for local residents as well as “in house” efficiencies and cost-savings. He cited his role as a commissioner in promoting “green power” to recapture gases from the county landfill that could be used as energy sources for the county to cut costs as well as selling energy to business as a new revenue source.

3. Economic Development/Jobs– (The current county budget cut spending for economic growth initiatives. Recent reports show most of the BRAC economic development, due to expansion of operations at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, is going to  job creation in Harford County.)

   Kolodzey said it was a “chicken and the egg” proposition and that cutting county taxes was top priority: “You need to do that (cut taxes) first and jobs will come second.” Hepbron said that “new jobs mean new revenues” for the county so that there is less reliance on property taxes to fund the county budget. He cited his experience  as a Commissioner to lure large businesses to the county with incentives, due to competition from nearby states, and that such incentives pay off in the long run through increased revenues and job creation.

    Broomell said that local employers and Cecil College should work together to promote job skills needed by business. She also said she was concerned that “we allow franchises to come in and undercut local business…the Super Wal-Mart’s are very detrimental to our local businesses.” Moore said that the county’s economic development office had brought in more new jobs than were lost due to the recession. She said the county needs to more aggressively seek BRAC-related jobs and economic development.

4. Charter Government– (Voters will decide on the November ballot whether to approve a change from commissioners to charter government, with a highly compensated, elected county executive in charge of most day to day decisions with a lower-paid, no benefits panel of county council members acting as reviewers of county executive actions.)

  Most of the candidates opposed charter government, with some saying it would cost taxpayers more money. Broomell said she favored “code home rule,” which would keep the current 5-member commissioners’ panel without a county executive, because code home rule provides more independence from Annapolis than either the current 5-member Commissioners form of government or the proposed charter government. (But code home rule is not on the ballot for voters to consider, only a yes or no vote on whether to adopt a charter form of government.)

  Kolodzey also opposed charter, saying he favored the commissioner form of government. “It will cost more and not be more efficient,” he said of charter government. Moore said that it was “more important who we elect” than the form of government. She said there needed to be more long-range planning for the future of the county.

  Hepbron cited his experience under the old three-member commissioners board, where there could be compromises reached after back-and-forth discussions, versus the newer five-member, staggered terms board. He said the current system led to stalemate, with two or three members always running for re-election and unwilling to make tough decisions.  In contrast to this system, he said he would favor charter government. But he also indicated he would be comfortable with an enhanced-powers five-member board, such as would be provided under code home rule form of government.

   The Cecil County Patriots will host another candidates forum later this month for Democratic candidates for County Commissioner.

BREAKING NEWS: New Sheriff Candidate, GOP Committee Wars

July 6, 2010

  It’s been a very busy morning at the Board of Elections office, with many new candidate filings– and a few surprises– for this year’s elections before tonight’s 9 p.m.  filing deadline.

 NEW SHERIFF CANDIDATE: Just when we thought the ballot couldn’t get any more crowded, William T. Gerczak, of Rising Sun, filed Monday as a candidate in the Democratic primary for Sheriff.  According to a Cecil Times check of court records, there is a Baltimore City police officer by that name who has appeared in court in prosecution of drug cases in the city. No home phone was listed nor did he give any phone number in his filings with the state Board of Elections.  The Democratic primary is already crowded with Chris Sutton, a current corporal in the Cecil County Sheriff’s Department and unsuccessful candidate in 2006, and Robert “Skip” DeWitt, a long-time deputy and the son of popular former county sheriff Jack DeWitt.

SCHOOL BOARD: Donna Zane, a member of the county’s first elected school board who had said she would not run again, suddenly filed for re-election Tuesday morning, according to state election records.  Zane, of Rising Sun, filed in the 4th district school board race in which Bill Herold, a controversial member of the old appointed school board, has declared his candidacy for election. Also running in that district is Thomas Wesley of Elkton, a retired school principal. Another late entry, June S. Reasin of Conowingo, filed July 1.

REPUBLICAN CENTRAL COMMITTEE: It’s been a minute-by-minute update as allies of State Senator E.J. Pipkin (R-36) and Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36) troop on in to the elections board to file for the 9 slots on the county’s Republican Central Committee. County Commissioner Jim Mullin, R-1st, from the Earleville area, filed this morning, as did Mike Dawson, a Republican candidate for county commissioner in the 4th District.  Both Mullin and Dawson are strongly aligned with the Pipkin-Smigiel camp.

   In addition, the Cecil County Young Republicans Club, another bastion of  the Pipkin-Smigiel powerbase, has fielded three other candidates for the GOP committee. One of those candidates, Michael W. Dunn of Rising Sun, has also filed in the Republican primary for 3rd District County Commissioner. Dunn is a longtime legislative aide on the payroll of Del. Smigiel.

    As the day wears on, we’re sure there will be even more candidates filing in what is shaping up as a power struggle between the current Central Committee and the Pipkin-Smigiel forces trying to gain control over the party structure in Cecil County.

   Cecil Times will continue to file updates as news events unfold throughout the day.

Harry Hepbron, Former Cecil Commissioner, Files to Run Again

June 30, 2010

   Harry A. Hepbron, a former vice-president of the Cecil County Board of Commissioners, has filed his candidacy to run again for a seat on the Cecil County Board, according to state Election Board records.

   Hepbron, a long-time farmer and owner of the Dove Valley Vineyards and Winery in Rising Sun, filed as a Republican candidate for the 3rd District County Commissioner’s seat on Tuesday, June 29, according to state election board records.  Hepbron served two terms on the county Board before being defeated for re-election in 2006  by Democrat Brian Lockhart, who is currently the President of the County Board of Commissioners.  Lockhart was scheduled to file for re-election on Wednesday, June 30.

   In an interview with The Cecil Times,  Hepbron said he decided to run again for Commissioner because of his concerns about “wrong turns” taken by the county board in the past four years. He said his top priorities for the county were “jobs, jobs, jobs” as well as economic development initiatives and support of education programs.  He said the current Board had failed to pursue  economic development opportunities and had become bogged down in partisan infighting.

   “I don’t  care if an employer is a Democrat or a Republican,” Hepbron said. “As long as a business is willing to locate in Cecil County and employ our citizens, that is fine with me.”

   Hepbron also said he strongly opposed what he called “the trash tax”– a new fee imposed by the county Commissioners for people who recycle soda cans, plastics and similar items. Such recyclables were previously allowed to be deposited at county landfill and trash transfer stations for free.  Hepbron noted that he appeared at a county Commissioners meeting several months ago and strongly opposed the “trash tax.”  He said he helped initiate a single-stream recycling program as a Commissioner and opposed the current Board’s abandonment of  support for that enviromentally important program.

   “I’m a farmer, vineyard operator and winery owner,” Hepbron said. “It is really important to our local economy and environment to support recycling and environmentally responsible programs.”

   Hepbron said that a top priority would be promoting “value-added agriculture”  and related tourism opportunities in the county, including  more wineries and a  potential new beer micro-brewery industry.  “Agriculture is a key part of our county’s economy and tourism is an important growth area,” Hepbron said. “Let’s put the two of them together for a new economic development initiative.”

  While a commissioner, Hepbron drew fire from some anti-growth activists.  In response, Hepbron said recently that he respected the concerns of such groups and would like to meet with them to address their current concerns.

    During his past service on the board of Commissioners, Hepbron was accused of conflict of interest because his family-owned vending company had past contracts,  signed before he was a Commissioner, for vending machines located in county-owned buildings. Hepbron cited records showing he had recused himself, and walked out of the Commissioners’  board room, whenever any discussion of vending machines occurred.  The vending machine company operated by his son and other familiy members currently has no contracts with the county government, Hepbron said.

  The former county commissioner said he was gratified by the many county residents who have asked him to run again for Commissioner.  “Wherever I go, people ask me to run again,” Hepbron said. “I am grateful for the support of Cecil County residents,” he added.

  Hepbron will face a challenger in the Republican primary, Ted Kolodzey, an employee of a local gym mat company, a  political newcomer and member of the local “Young Republicans” club that is fielding candidates in all three Commissioner races on the ballot this year.

Carl Roberts Creates Campaign $ Committee; Expected to Run Against Tome

March 1, 2010

   Former Cecil County Schools Superintendent Carl Roberts has created a campaign fundraising committee, according to online state election records, but has not yet formally declared his expected candidacy for the 4th District County Commissioner seat currently held by Democrat Wayne Tome.

   Dr. Roberts, who served as the schools chief from 1996 until his retirement in 2008, filed papers for “Friends of Carl Roberts,” a campaign finance committee, in February and named two political unknowns as campaign officials. Eugene Caffey,  of Port Deposit, is his campaign treasurer and Linda Dyekman, a Chesapeake City graphic designer, is his campaign chairman. Dyekman is a member of BEPAC, the Business and Education Partership that links local businesses with county education programs.

   Since leaving the county schools post, Dr. Roberts has served as executive director of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland and has been the legislative liaison (lobbyist) for the Council of Education Adminstrative and Supervisory Organizations. Last year, he applied to become Superindendent of Schools for Harford County, but he was passed over and another applicant won the job.

   Although technically a “newcomer” to election politics, Roberts is a seasoned player in the county political game. He managed to convince successive boards of commissioners to boost education spending dramatically and delivered rising test scores in county schools. But he was also criticized by some as fostering a costly, top-heavy administrative staff.

    Roberts has been contacting various political and community leaders for months to solicit their support for a primary challenge to Tome. While some Democrats have cautioned against a challenge to the incumbent Tome, others, including some Republicans, have been encouraging a Roberts campaign, according to informed sources.

    Tome said in an interview with The Cecil Times that he plans to seek re-election and filed paperwork to form his campaign finance committee a few days ago, although it has not yet been posted online by the state Election Board. Tome said he would postpone a formal announcement of his candidacy until completion of the current county budget process. “I want to concentrate all my efforts on doing the business of Cecil County in this important process,” Tome said.

    “He’s a very knowledgable and smart individual,” Tome said of Roberts. “But I believe I have a lot more experience on a wider range of county issues, and I feel we need to continue the progress we’ve started.”

 Tome, an officer in the Baltimore County Fire Department for many years, has been a leading advocate for Cecil County’s politically influential  fire companies and public safety spending. However, he has questioned the potential costs of binding arbitration sought by county Sheriff’s Deputies. As a result, some of his base of support has been undermined as Republican members of the state legislative delegation push state legislation to hold a referendum on the issue.

   Roberts was always an outspoken advocate of increased education spending by the county in the budget process, a position that often pitted his agenda against other county agencies, including the Sheriff’s department.

   Meanwhile, a candidate can create a finance committee and solicit donations even before filing the formal paperwork to declare candidacy for elected office, according to state Elections Board officials. But someone who has formally filed as a candidate may not solicit contributions until the separate finance committee paperwork is filed. This year, candidates for county offices must file an ongoing campaign committee with electronic reporting of donations. In the past,  local candidates could file “personal treasurer” reports that were filed on paper locally and not searchable online.

    A Republican, Mike Dawson, has already filed his candidacy and begun fundraising for the 4th District seat. Dawson, a former Prince George’s County police officer, is a newcomer to the county and county politics but has been active with the Cecil County Young Republicans Club. The club is  expected to field candidates from its membership in all three of the Commissioner seat contests this year.

    The Cecil Times has calls in to Roberts and will update this report upon  his response.

UPDATE: We didn’t receive a callback but Roberts has formally announced that he is running for Tome’s Commissioner seat. He has posted a website,

His campaign theme is “Leadership for the Future” and includes lots of vintage family photos under the “biography” section. We assume more detailed information will be upcoming.

 Tome has filed his campaign finance committee report and lists Peter Kirksley as Treasurer and Tim Snelling as committee chairman. Snelling is himself a former unsuccessful commissioner candidate and has served for several years on the county liquor board.

CENSUS: Cecil County Women–Smarter but Poorer?

November 1, 2009

  Cecil County women are better educated than men in the county but they earn significantly less money from their jobs than less-educated men, according to new three-year data issued this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

  The discrepancies in income are not easily explained by the cliched notions that women work part-time, or drop out of the work force, to care for children and family members. The statistics show that women living in Cecil County are working at about equal rates with men but their work is not being rewarded with equal pay. Women with higher education levels make less money than equally or  less-educated men.  But equally educated men and women only make similar salaries if they are employed by the federal government, where there are strong anti-discriminatory rules in place.

   The latest three-year evaluations by the U.S. Census Bureau’s Amercan Community Survey, issued this week, show that 14.6 percent of Cecil County women, age 25 or older, have a bachelor’s degree, in comparison with only 12.5 percent for men of the same age group. 

   The Census Bureau survey found that for Cecil County residents, aged 25 and over, all residents holding a Bachelor’s degree  had an annual income of $55,192– but the disparity between men and women was striking. For a male with a  Bachelor’s degree the annual income  was $70,549  but for a woman with the same educational credential the salary was just $44,762. In fact, a male with just a high school education made more –$45,323– than the college educated woman.

    And even among those Cecil County residents with graduate and/or professional degrees, the gender differences are stunning.  The Census Bureau statistics calculate that  local men with such credentials earn $80,289 a year while women with the same credentials earn just $47,807.

   So what might account for such differences?  The Census stats knock down the usual prejudices/stereotypes.  The study showed that in Cecil County, 59.3 percent of families had both mom and dad working full time, and 6.2 percent of families had mom working full-time while dad was not employed outside the home, and 20.8 percent of familes had dad working while mom stayed home.

     Overall, these new 3-year federal statistics indicate that Cecil County is, unfortunately,  yet again a backwater in the real world.

  The stark numbers do not reflect some Cecil County-centric issue such as the lack of  local jobs, driving times to job sites, etc. But the stats do show that there is a very real difference between male and female job compensation.