Coun­cil­man Vari files for Ches. City mayor

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE -

— Coun­cil­man Frank Vari an­nounced his can­di­dacy for mayor on Tues­day, while un­cer­tainty re­mains as to whether in­cum­bent Mayor Dean Geraci­mos will seek re-elec­tion.

Upon win­ning re-elec­tion in 2014, Geraci­mos said it would be his last two-year term, but now it ap­pears that he may be ready to seek a new term af­ter pass­ing over a chance at county of­fices. A feisty Vari said Wed­nes­day that he de­cided to file re­gard­less of Geraci­mos’ de­ci­sion to run af­ter the mayor’s April 5 “State of the Town” ad­dress, which he feels slighted the ef­forts of town



of­fi­cials other than Geraci­mos.

The an­nual ad­dress fo­cused on the achieve­ments made un­der Geraci­mos’ ad­min­is­tra­tion in the past four years, but Vari said he, and oth­ers, heard the mayor say “I” more than “we” in the pre­pared speech. Vari also noted that sev­eral of the ac­com­plish­ments achieved and events or­ga­nized in Geraci­mos’ ten­ure started well be­fore he took of­fice.

“A lot of peo­ple took of­fense to his ad­dress. It wasn’t just Dean, but all of us — Dean, the coun­cil and town res­i­dents — who came to­gether and said we need to change the di­rec­tion of the wa­ter and sewer, beau­tify our town and make it a des­ti­na­tion for vis­i­tors,” Vari said Wed­nes­day. “I know it was his night to shine, and he did, but I think some of the peo­ple say that we need a face present in town.”

As a sym­bol of his cam­paign’s theme, Vari will be­gin his sec­ond at­tempt at the mayor’s seat — he lost to Geraci­mos in their first bids in 2012 by 15 votes — by tak­ing his mes­sage to vo­terd — lit­er­ally. The coun­cil­man said he plans to em­bark upon a walk­ing tour of the town of roughly 700 peo­ple to hear their con­cerns in per­son.

“You can’t leave any rock un­turned,” he said. “I think res­i­dents de­serve more. They need a face for the town and (Geraci­mos) hasn’t given that to them.”

Dur­ing his “State of the Town” ad­dress, Geraci­mos ad­dressed feed­back from res­i­dents who ques­tioned why he does not keep reg­u­lar of­fice hours at town hall as pre­vi­ous may­ors have done. He said that tech­nol­ogy al­lows him to talk with rel­e­vant project staff and elected of­fi­cials to im­prove

the town while also stay­ing in touch with day-to-day oper­a­tions.

“Hav­ing some­one in the of­fice from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is re­ally a thing of the past,” he told res­i­dents, not­ing that he isn’t re­tired. “With tech­nol­ogy to­day, I’m able to com­mu­ni­cate with my staff and coun­cil, giv­ing me time to be in An­napo­lis or on the phone. I can be just as ef­fi­cient sit­ting in my liv­ing room as I can in the of­fice.”

Vari dis­agrees with the mayor’s stance, how­ever, and said that res­i­dents will be able to eas­ily find him in­per­son if elected.

“I’m go­ing to in­sti­tute three days a week for fourhour blocks where I will be in of­fice, so peo­ple know that the mayor is back in the house,” he said. “You can’t run a town by a cell­phone.”

Vari said his three terms on town coun­cil have pre­pared him well to as­sume the mayor’s po­si­tion, and pointed to his cre­ation of the town’s pop­u­lar 5K races and its metal re­cy­cling pro­gram for rais­ing $120,000 over seven years, which off­set the costs of the town’s sin­glestream re­cy­cling pro­gram, as ev­i­dence of his lead­er­ship. For five con­sec­u­tive years, Ch­e­sa­peake City has earned the ti­tle of top re­cy­cling town in the county.

If elected, Vari said he would con­tinue to spear­head the build­ing of the town’s new waste­water treat­ment plant, sched­uled to break ground in 2017, and vig­or­ously pur­sue the grants that have largely funded its re­cent im­prove­ments.

“I un­der­stand the wishes and dreams of the peo­ple in town, and right now they need some­one who can di­rect them to hap­pen,” he said.

Mean­while, in­cum­bent town coun­cil­men Tom Mor­ris and Harry Samp­son have also filed for re-elec­tion to their seats on the five-mem­ber body. Cur­rently they face no chal­lengers as Mor­ris seeks his sec­ond two-year term and Samp­son seeks his sixth non-con­sec­u­tive term.

The mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion is set for June 6.


Town Coun­cil­man Frank Vari is run­ning for mayor, say­ing the town’s leader should be present for citizens.


Sa­man­tha Bryant con­cen­trates as she works her fab­ric through the sewing ma­chine at Sew and Reap in Per­ryville Out­lets.

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