Councilman Vari files for Ches. City mayor
— 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.