Showing posts with label Mike McDermott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mike McDermott. Show all posts

Monday, January 31, 2011

Some Interesting Words.........

Observations and Reflections on Legislative Activities

By Delegate Mike McDermott

January 17th-23rd

  • The session opened on Monday evening with a presentation by Delegate Shawn Tarrant reflecting on the life and legacy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The delegate offered some interesting insights reflecting on many struggles and triumphs by African-American Marylanders.
  • On Tuesday, the committee heard from the Chief Judge Ben Clyburn of Maryland’s District Court system concerning the digitalization of court records. He first reviewed the success of implementing the E-Ticket system (computer generated traffic tickets) which is now utilized on over 50% of all tickets issued. Concerning the coming consolidations and changes, there were many questions regarding some of the operational details which they were not prepared to answer, but the dialogue was helpful. It was suggested that the working committee overseeing the changes for the district courts should include representation from the Judiciary Committee. This was resisted by the Chief Judge as a separation of powers issue. The problem is the District Court is spending money and making decisions about future expenses without input from legislators who will be the ones deciding on funding. Without legislative approval, a lot of tax dollars are at risk of being wasted by a committee preparing for change that may not be fully funded. It was a good example of a failure to partner by government entities which could create significant problems in the future.
  • On Wednesday, I met with a representative of the License Beverage Holders to discuss their recommended changes to the wholesale operations of the Worcester County Liquor Control Board. They had made a presentation to the Worcester County Commissioners on Tuesday. I am waiting to hear back from the commissioners regarding their thoughts on the operations of the LCB before crafting any legislation.
  • On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee received a report from the Chairman of the Parole Commission, David Blumburg, regarding their activities in the past year. Also present in the audience for the review were several wardens and other local correctional service staff from across Maryland. There was much debate over the effectiveness of the Parole Commission in meeting the needs of the local correctional facilities. In fact, at times, members of the Committee had to referee between those speaking to the Committee and those in the audience.
    1. Two discussion items stood out: first, it was reported to us that inmates receiving “Good Time” Credits had a higher recidivism rate that than those who served out more of their sentence. I found this interesting considering that we are rewarding inmates for behaving by letting them go early, only to have them offend again. I was not the only delegate thinking that perhaps we should consider eliminating these credits.
    2. The second issue was the cost of parole monitoring. This cost is suppose to be paid in full by the inmate during his parole/probation time. I was surprised to learn that the Commission Chairman provides a waiver of these fees whenever he is asked to do so; and, further, if the inmate does not pay the fees (Rule 10 of their parole/probation requirements), the Commission does not violate them nor does it require them to make the payments. I found this outrageous and I advised the Chairman that I expected him to fully collect all monies owed to the State of Maryland by any inmate being given the privilege of parole/probation. It is interesting to note that the Governor’s Budget for this year includes a 4 million dollar increase in the fees charged for Parole and Probation Supervision by the state. Sounds like the governor may want to have a sit down with his Parole Commission Chairman before he counts on any money from these guys!
  • In my comments for this past week, I would be remiss if I did not mention an incident which occurred on the floor of the House during the Thursday morning session. One of our Baltimore County Delegates stood and gave a somber tribute to a Baltimore County Fireman, Mark Falkenhan, killed in the line of duty the previous day. The two were very good friends and it was a very heavy, emotional moment in the House. I had stood up to introduce my family and was recognized by the Speaker immediately after this somber moment. I felt compelled to ask the Speaker for permission to pray for the Firefighters family and our colleague who was in mourning. This request was denied based upon some bizarre sense of House protocols that made even less sense once they were explained. I then requested a simple moment of silence. This too was rejected. It seems in the peoples House, a prayer can be said to start the meeting, but we will not do so at any other time. Fortunately, several delegates came over after the session was adjourned and we prayed together for the Firefighters family and our colleague. I received many comments from veteran and freshman delegates alike later in the day indicating that they thought I had done the right thing and they thought it quite strange that my request was not allowed.

I understand protocol, and I respect the Speaker, but I think this unwritten rule is not in the best interest of the House or the people of Maryland. If anything, we need more prayer on the floor of the people’s House.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mayor McDermott To Oversee His Last Council Meeting

POCOMOKE CITY -- Mike McDermott will oversee his last City Council meeting as mayor, resigning the position as he moves into the role of state delegate.

Scheduled for the meeting is routine business, including the review of minutes, a second reading of legislation and the city manager presenting project bids.

Also on the agenda is discussion of the 2011 Cypress Festival. Denise Wagner, executive director of the Pocomoke City Chamber of Commerce and event organizer, said the Chamber had previously spoken with the council and is expected to return with more information.

"It's more preliminary than anything," Wagner said. "(The council) asked for some additional information. ... We didn't have the sketches with us before."

The Cypress Festival is scheduled to enter its 37th year this summer, expanding once again, according to Wagner. She hopes to include life-saving demonstrations from the U.S. Coast Guard, expanded food and craft booths as well as a fishing tournament in Cypress Park.

"We haven't had our first Cypress meeting yet," Wagner said. "But we would like some additional space and to rearrange some things."

The council is also scheduled to discuss incentives for new homebuilders who install sprinkler systems in single family homes.

McDermott is specifically scheduled to present a deed for industrial property at the corner of Broad and Eighth streets to Dan Boyle of Beretta and Benelli Corp. The property was originally sold to Beretta on a lease-purchase contract in 1990.

After McDermott resigns, Robert Hawkins will fill in as mayor until city elections are held in April.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Delegate-Elect McDermott Speaks To Committee

OCEAN CITY – Resort business leaders this week got a formal introduction to their newest representative in the House of Delegates, and if they didn’t know recently elected Mike McDermott before, they certainly got an appreciation of what he is all about.

The Ocean City Economic Development Committee (EDC) held its annual legislative breakfast. With Senator-elect Jim Mathias on a pre-session hiatus and Delegate Norman Conway and Chamber of Commerce lobbyist Dennis Rasmussen absent, Delegate-elect McDermott had the committee’s ear almost exclusively.

McDermott, like many others elected in November, will be a relative newcomer to Annapolis when the session opens next week and he appears to be embracing the role. He was decidedly self-deprecating at times during his introduction to the EDC on Wednesday although he made it known in no uncertain terms he would be no shrinking violet.

“I’m still waiting to find out where my office is going to be,” he said. “They’re probably going to put me in a hallway somewhere, but that’s okay.”

The freshmen Republican from Pocomoke will be part of a large new contingent of recently elected Delegates participating in their first session and said on Wednesday he expects change to come slowly in Annapolis.

“They keep talking about transitions, but they’ve been slow on the uptake in Annapolis,” he said. “There will be 30 new Delegates in Annapolis this year, and that’s a considerable amount of change, but there doesn’t seem to be the will to change.”

McDermott did not resist the opportunity to take a friendly jab at Governor Martin O’Malley, who was in the resort area the day before for the grand opening of the Casino at Ocean Downs.

“He told everyone how he felt relief when he came across the bridge, like a burden had been lifted,” he said. “That burden is higher taxes and stringent business regulations. I told him we’re tired of carrying that pack and asked him to please take it back with him.”

On a more serious note, McDermott said increased regulations, fees and taxes on business in Maryland was causing many to take their business elsewhere.

“There’s a real breakdown in Annapolis,” he said. “They keep piling more and more regulations on businesses and farming and they’re driving business out of the state. They’re driving millionaires out of the state.”

McDermott told resort business leaders to be alert for increased taxes and regulations during the upcoming session.

“The governor says there are no new taxes in his budget, but he’s going to force the General Assembly to look like the bad guys,” he said. “They’re talking about a gas tax to replace the money stolen from the Transportation Trust Fund and an alcohol tax to pay for health issues. We need to be vigilant about these.”

McDermott said the state’s habit of taking dedicated funds from one source to pay for shortcomings in another would not fly at the county or municipal level.

“When you raid one fund to pay another, we’re not allowed to do that on the local level,” he said. “They tell us over and over it’s not a raid, it’s a transfer.”

In not so many words, McDermott likened the raiding of the TTF and other “transfers” to fiscal piracy, using an analogy residents in maritime areas such as Worcester and Ocean City could understand.

“When you board my boat with a parrot on your shoulder, a patch over your eye and a sword in your hand, that’s called a raid on the Lower Shore,” he said.

With just nine Eastern Shore delegates and three Senators, McDermott said it would likely be difficult to overcome the numbers game, particularly in the 141-member House of Delegates.

“We need relief,” he said. “There are nine Delegates on the Eastern Shore and just three Senators and we’re going to have to fight the dragon that is the 141 number. I’m hopeful and optimistic going into it.”

McDermott said bringing his fellow Delegates around to his rural, conservative values on some issues could be difficult.

“Many of my colleagues in the House are myopic and have very urban perspectives,” he said. “For many of them, the Eastern Shore is drive-through country on their way to the beach and vacation.”

He related a recent story of a tour of the various departments in the state capital for freshmen delegates including the Department of Natural Resources, when some of the incoming legislators were asked if they were bird watchers. McDermott said he spoke up when no one else did.

“I told them, ‘yes, I am,’” he said. “I like to watch birds and identify them right before I shoot them. You can see how I will likely have my office in a hallway.”

McDermott promised EDC officials he would work hard on their behalf, even in his own self-deprecating way.

“I look forward to working on your behalf,” he said. “My office, or my hallway, is always open to you. I will not be shy or bashful about standing up for what we value most on the shore.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

McDermott Looks Back On Being Mayor and Ahead Toward The Future

POCOMOKE CITY -- Mike McDermott has been busy since his election to the State House -- reflecting on his time as mayor, working on his transition to state delegate and planning for the upcoming legislative session.

"There is some sorrow in leaving the mayor's job," said McDermott, who was recently appointed to the Judiciary Committee in the House of Delegates.

Since taking office as mayor in 2005, McDermott said several accomplishments have helped move Pocomoke City into the 21st century and prepare it for the future.

When he took office, McDermott said the Delmarva Discovery Center was a dirt floor in a disheveled building and the Mar-Va theater didn't exist. Both buildings are now operating as downtown attractions.

Other advancements, such as industrial and technological expansion, have helped to improve the outlook for long-term economic development, McDermott said.

He cites working with Worcester County to assess how and where Pocomoke City should grow, in addition to updating the zoning code, as significant contributions.

"Since I have been mayor, the development along the Route 13 corridor has really taken off," McDermott said. "We didn't have much going on in the industrial areas, so for me, seeing the completion of some of these long-term projects has been a great experience."

Looking forward

Although he has not yet been sworn in, McDermott has been preparing for the Jan. 12 event by speaking with Delegate Norm Conway and state Sen.-elect Jim Mathias about pertinent issues as well as embarking on a bus trip around Maryland with other freshman delegates and senators.

Among the issues he hopes to take up are allowing nonprofit organizations in Worcester County to use slot machines as a fundraising tool; addressing the future of the Liquor Control Board; reducing harassment of poultry farmers; and strengthening sex offender punishments.

"For the first year, I am going to focus on learning, listening and observing the way things are done," McDermott said. "But I won't hesitate to offer anything that needs to be offered in the best interest of this area."

Once sworn in, McDermott will no longer serve as mayor. Robert Hawkins is scheduled to take over until the local election in April.

"I can't imagine what it will feel like to take my seat with other delegates and occupy my place in history," McDermott said. "People have put trust into me to represent them, and in our form of government, there is no higher trust."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mike McDermott Could Resign As Mayor of Pocomoke City

SNOW HILL -- In the wake of Nov. 2 elections, Mike McDermott is wearing three hats: working as a sheriff's deputy, serving as mayor of Pocomoke City and most likely being a delegate-elect to the Maryland General Assembly.

That's two hats too many to do a good job as delegate, McDermott said in an interview. He said he'll resign as Pocomoke mayor in a matter of weeks, and will retire from law enforcement later in 2011.

"I'll resign from being mayor as soon as I take office," says McDermott. "The vice president of the council will continue to run the meetings until the next city election, which is the second week in February."

Bob Hawkins, who represents District 1 on the Pocomoke council, is the current vice president.

If nothing nudges him from his current place in the race to represent District 38B along with longtime delegate Norman Conway, he'll be sworn in as a member of the General Assembly on Jan. 12, when the legislature convenes. Another candidate, Marty Pusey, would have to gain 1,468 or more votes compared to McDermott in a final count of remaining absentee and provisional votes to overtake him, and that appears unlikely to happen given the amount of ballots left to count. The last ballots mailed from overseas are set to be counted by Nov. 22.

McDermott doesn't have the option of being Pocomoke's mayor and representing it in the legislature as well. Since the position of mayor is elected and paid, McDermott cannot hold it while holding another elected, paid office in Maryland, says Raquel Guillory, public information officer for the state Attorney General's Office.

As for his duties as deputy in the Sheriff's Office, McDermott said he expects to continue being in charge of the Criminal Investigative Division through next year. He will take saved-up vacation time during the 90-day legislative session before retiring from the department.

"I knew I couldn't hold office and [be mayor]," McDermott said. "I ran knowing I would step down if elected, but my retirement decision wasn't relative to the election."

McDermott said he wanted to make sure he would be able to devote his time and energy to being a state delegate.

"Although the session is only 90 days, it's a year-round responsibility," said McDermott. "I wouldn't have wanted to take that on without having the time to do it."

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Thankyou To Supporters

I want to thank my supporters for all of their sacrifice and efforts during my campaign. Your prayers have sustained me, your encouragement has lifted me and your votes have humbled me.

As we move from campaign to governing, I ask that you continue to pray for Maryland and our country. We will face many challenges, but we will face them together.

I affirm my commitment to communicate the actions being discussed and those acted upon by the General Assembly, and to always be a strong voice for the Eastern Shore.

Mike McDermott
Pocomoke City
Maryland House of Delegates -ELECT
District 38-B

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

District 38B Winner..............

Pocomoke Mayor Mike McDermott wins seat in Maryland House Of Delegates!

His goal when taking office will be removing regulations that keep industries and companies from settling in Maryland, with job creation his ultimate goal.

"We've been working on this campaign for two years," he said. "When I started, it wasn't necessarily a great time to be a Republican. Now, big government has fallen out of favor."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Delegate Candidates Speak At Forum

BERLIN – During a candidate forum last week, the four District 38B House of Delegates candidates were asked about their collective economic backgrounds in managing budgets, experiences that will likely serve the eventual winners well when they get to Annapolis.

A diverse filed of candidates are vying for two District 38B House of Delegates seats including two Democrats and two Republicans, although the top two vote getters will emerge victorious regardless of party affiliation. With the state’s economy still stalled in a lingering recession, budgets and finances are at the heart of the issue in the upcoming election, and each of the candidates was asked during last week’s forum about his or her economic backgrounds.

“I have a checkbook and I have to balance it every month,” said Republican candidate and Pocomoke Mayor Mike McDermott. “I’m also the chief of police in Snow Hill and have to get by on what you can imagine is a very meager budget, so I understand living inside my means. This is where Maryland has gotten so far off track.”
Democratic challenger and Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said he would draw on his collective life experiences in the private and public sectors if and when it came time to deal with the state’s finances.

“I’ve owned and operated newspapers in the private sector, I’ve worked for the state of Maryland with the State Highway Administration and I now work in the non-profit community,” he said. “In addition, I’m the mayor of a municipality, so my unique experiences have prepared me for this challenge. The one thing I’ve learned is that life is too costly and too complicated for government to be the answer for all things.”

Like Williams, Republican challenger Marty Pusey has a wealth of experience in managing budgets from which to draw from should she be elected. Pusey said reigning in spending is imperative with the state budget continuing to swell.

“In my capacity with the health department, I oversee about 20 different budgets, and I also own my own business, so I have practical experience,” she said. “Maryland is looking at a $2 billion deficit this year that could swell to $8 billion in five years. We need to get our house in order and we need to see pork spending come to a halt.”

As the lone incumbent in the field, Democrat Norm Conway said state lawmakers have worked in earnest to curb spending while maintaining programs for those who need them the most.
“In the General Assembly, we have reduced spending and we have been extremely careful to maintain fiscal prudence and social responsibility,” he said.

The state’s economic recovery is largely dependent on a robust business climate, but Maryland has a growing reputation for becoming increasingly unfriendly to new business with an onerous tax structure and increased regulation. The candidates were asked what they thought could be done to relax the rules in Maryland. Conway said over-regulation and hefty fines were at the heart of the issue.

“I’m aware businesses come in and talk about Maryland’s regulatory process,” he said. “The fines are out of control and unreasonable and we have to work toward modification, but there has to be a process.”

Pusey said over-regulation in Maryland was stifling the state’s economy.

“Every time we pass another regulation, we take away choices,” she said. “There is an obvious place for regulations, but they have to be based on real science. The current assault on poultry and agriculture in general is unreasonable.”

Pusey said state lawmakers need to curb their collective zeal for new regulations.
“For every new law that’s passed, we should have to eliminate two older ones,” she said. “The number of new laws and regulations is out of hand.”

Williams said while the intent of many state regulations is founded in common sense, the focus is often changed in the implementation.

“In many cases, they take a good law but put in place regulations that hurt the towns,” he said.

“When applied to the private sector, the results can be devastating. In most cases, the law is good, but the application is unreasonable.”

McDermott echoed Pusey’s sentiment about over-regulation in Maryland, although his remarks took on a decidedly harsher tone. He pointed out the impacts of increased state regulations on agriculture, for example.

“Over 1,500 bills carried forward in Annapolis,” he said. “That’s an outrage and we’re not going to tolerate it. We’re myopic in Maryland. It’s a one-party system and you’re not getting Eastern Shore values heard in Annapolis. They’re tone deaf to what’s going on down here and if we don’t change this, we’re going to lose a way of life forever. If we don’t stand up for our farmers now, when are we going to do it.”

At the end of the forum, each of the four District 38B candidates was allowed to sum up their bids with a brief closing statement. Williams urged voters to look at his record as mayor of Berlin when heading to the polls in November.

“If you want a better future for the Lower Shore, you need somebody who knows the difference between spending and investing public dollars,” he said. “My record is creating jobs, supporting the environment and creating business relationships.”

For Pusey, the election boils down to satisfaction with the status quo or an opportunity to affect real change in Maryland. She referred to the current tax and spend attitude in the state as an addiction.

“I bring a unique combination of experiences and skills to the table,” she said. “We need a change of attitude. We have an addiction of taxing and spending and we need to change that culture.”

McDermott, for his part, went beyond calling for change in the upcoming election. The Pocomoke mayor said there might never be a greater opportunity to dramatically change the culture in Annapolis then November 2.

“It’s the election of our lifetime,” he said. “The issue tonight is about wholesale change and how this state will survive. Philosophically, we need to change how this state is run. If we don’t make this state more business friendly, we’re going to get bigger government and more taxes.”

McDermott also took the opportunity to call out the district’s current representation in Annapolis, essentially accusing them of paying lip service to conservative Eastern Shore values.

“They get to that bridge with their conservative Eastern Shore values, but they leave them in a bucket on the bridge and pick up their liberal values on the other side,” he said.
For his part, Conway took exception to McDermott’s pigeon-holing the district’s representatives into neat and tidy partisan definitions.

“I don’t consider myself a liberal or a conservative,” he said. “I believe in paying my way with fiscal prudence and social responsibility.”

McDermott called out Conway and fellow District 38B Delegate Jim Mathias for voting for a tax increase package during a special session two years ago. However, while Conway acknowledged voting for the tax hikes, he reminded those attending the forum much of the revenue was dedicated to important projects in the district.

“I voted for those taxes, but only because one half of one penny on the tax rate was dedicated to restoring the Transportation Trust Fund,” he said. “That one half of one penny kept Route 113 going and that same half of one penny will improve Route 589.”
News Editor, Shawn J. Soper

Thursday, October 7, 2010

PSST ! Have you heard the latest?

The Democrats are standing back because they KNOW they can't touch a Republican

like Mike McDermott !!

Don't Forget to VOTE MIKE!!