Annapolis Mayoral Debate Lively But Long

The most interesting part of the evening was when the candidates asked questions of each other.

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Three hundred people gathered last night to hear the three candidates for mayor of Annapolis present their views on why they should be elected in November. For two hours they sat and listened to Josh Cohen, David Cordle, and Chris Fox answer questions posed to them by moderator Chris Nelson, President of St. John’s College. The most interesting part of the evening was when the candidates asked questions of each other.
David Cordle, an Alderman since 2001 wanted to know why voters should believe Josh Cohen would stick to being Mayor of Annapolis when he has a track record of dropping out of one commitment to take on another. He cited Cohen’s dropping out of St. John’s College, running for County Council while still an alderperson, and now running for mayor while sitting on County Council.
Cohen answered with a joke about how easy it is to be accepted into St. John’s if you write a good essay and how difficult it is to drop out. Then he went on to explain that he felt compelled to run for mayor because he grew up in Annapolis and knows he can do a better job of running the city than anyone else.
Cohen wanted to know why Fox had chosen to run for the office of mayor when his platform was so similiar to Cordle’s. Fox responded he had begun his campaign in 2007, long before anyone else had announced their candidacy and that although he was fiscally conservative like Cordle and supported the city manager form of goverment, he was a social liberal and an independent.
Fox asked Cordle if he would be running for mayor if the mayor’s salary was the same as that of an alderperson. Cordle responded “no” and explained he has four children to support , two of which are in college and two more coming up who will be going to college, and that although his wife works, they would need the mayor’s salary.
Cordle asked Fox how he would have the time to devote to being mayor when he owns and runs a business (The Sly Fox pub and restaurant). Fox explained to Cordle that he has very good managers he can rely on and that arranged his schedule so he only works one day a week for six hours.
All candidates agreed that the City has too big a budget with too many overstaffed departments and too many consultants. They talked about how they were going to revitalize the downtown area by hiring marketing professionals who would focus on attracting new businesses into the downtown area, provide more parking opportunities by having all city employees park in lots located outside the city dock region, and set up a better transportation system of buses or trolleys that would be more reponsive to visitor’s needs.
A major difference is their stand on the City Manager form of government. Cordle and Fox would immediately put in an interim City Manager while they conducted a nationwide search for an individual with eight years govenment experience. Cohen believes the mayor should take responsibility for management of the city and be directly responsible to the voters. He would hire a city administrator. also with a strong record of city managerial experience.
(If the City Manager form of governement is adopted , as proposed in the legislation introduced to the council by Cordle, the mayor’s approval would be necessary to either hire or fire the City Manager along with the majority vote of alderpersons. )
In their closing statements Fox told the audience he would bring new blood to CIty Hall, Cohen focused on his expertise in buildling consensus and he knowledge of public land use,budget management, and transportation.
Cordle reminded voters of his record of service to his country in the military and his commitment to Annapolis as an alderperson and board member of the Boys and Girls Club. If you’d like to see and listen to this particular debate in its entirety it was videotaped courtesy of Whats Up? ANnapolis and it is going to be aired on Comcast, maybe Tuesday evening at 10:00 p.m. I will post more details as they become available.

Author: Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Currently in the Stoneooast MFA writing program (University of Southern Maine), genre literary fiction. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, in charge of three magazines: "What's Up? Annapolis", "What's Up? Eastern Shore", and "What's Up? Weddings", former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

2 thoughts on “Annapolis Mayoral Debate Lively But Long”

  1. Very good re-cap of the Mayoral Forum at MD Hall.

    Two clarifications: (1) if the Council-Manager charter amendment is passed, as proposed, it does NOT require the “approval of the Mayor” to hire/fire the City Manager. It DOES require a simple majority (5-4) of ANY members of the City Council. The Mayor (or any four Council members) can “recommend” a review of the City Manager’s performance, but it still takes a simple majority to make the pass or reject the measure;
    (2) unlike Cohen’s desire to “hire a professional” to serve as City Administator, Cordle and Fox support a much more stringent requirement for a City Manager: that individual MUST have an advanced degree in public or business administration or a related field AND a minimum of 8 years of experience in city management. This will ensure that a highly experienced and trained professional will be recruited and hired, rather than leave open the opportunity to appoint an individual who may be more “politically-connected” than professionally-qualified.

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