Julia Glanz takes reins as Salisbury’s Acting Mayor

Julia Glanz has been named Acting Mayor while Jake Day is away on military deployment.

Julia Glanz knew the day might come when she would be asked to take over the mayor’s duties.

As Salisbury’s City Administrator, she knew that Mayor Jake Day would eventually be deployed with his Army National Guard unit and have to leave the country for an extended period.

That day came last week when Day, a captain in the Guard, left for a tour of duty in the Horn of Africa as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He will be away for up to 10 months.

“Since Jake became Mayor in 2015, we knew this was possible,” Glanz said. “He has been spinning us up to be the best possible leaders for if this day came. We are ready. Salisbury is in good hands.”

Glanz will serve as Acting Mayor in Day’s absence, with all the powers of an elected mayor, except for vetoes. City Council President Jack Heath has been asked to step up as a senior elected official.

In a May 28 news conference, Day said he tried to surround himself with a team that can function without him. In February 2017, he promoted Glanz from assistant city administrator to the chief administrator.

“In Julia Glanz, we have the person who I knew at that time could carry forth the vision that I swore to our citizens we would achieve when I first ran for office,” he said.

She will head up the leadership team that Day said remains intact.

“I’ll be gone for a while, but the city’s course, our trajectory, our efforts will remain,” he said.

City Council President Jack Heath said he has “all the confidence in the world” in Glanz and the rest of the team that Day put in place.

“The staff will rally around her,” he said. “They want her to be successful.”

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Glanz got to know the Eastern Shore when her parents bought a second home in Cambridge and visited there in the summer months. During that time, she visited Salisbury University for the first time.

“That was the start of my love of Salisbury,” she said.

Glanz first came to the mayor’s office as an intern under then-Mayor Jim Ireton during her sophomore year at SU where she was majoring in business management and political science. She later earned a master’s degree in Conflict Analysis and Dispute Resolution at the university.

After graduation, she worked for AFSME — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — where she advocated for workers’ rights. She left in 2015 to become assistant city administrator under Ireton and then-City Administrator Tom Stevenson.

Since her appointment to the position in February 2017, Glanz has been instrumental in the reorganization of city government, and was a driving force in the successful campaign to host the National Folk Festival.

As the mayor’s chief administrative officer, Glanz oversees all functions of city government, and manages communications and messaging. Under her are 12 department heads and 435 city employees.

In a photo from 2018, Julia Glanz paddles a kayak in ther Wicomico River near the Salisbury Marina with her dog, Luna.

Running the city is something she knows well, but her new role has thrust her into unfamiliar territory in the public eye. Glanz has been tasked with taking over the daily 5 p.m. coronavirus update on Facebook Live that Day started in late March as a way to keep the public informed of the latest developments during the pandemic.

She and Day hosted it together before he left town. Now she is on her own, fielding questions from viewers on Covid-19 numbers and what’s allowed under the state’s reopening plan.

Glanz said she plans to change things up a bit by inviting guests to talk about things that are relevant to the coronavirus.

“I want to make it more interactive and educate the public,” she said.

While Day is gone, she also will have a more hands-on role in the various development projects planned on city parking lots. Currently, changes are in the works for the plans for Lot 1 next to the Wicomico Public Library and city officials are still negotiating with a developer for Lot 10 at the Route 50-Route 13 intersection by the state office building. Another project on former city-owned land at the Salisbury Marina should be starting soon, she said.

Several major infrastructure projects will be wrapping up while Day is away. The Main Street revitalization is now in its final phase and is scheduled to be finished by the fall, and the Riverside traffic circle will wrap up within the next month.

“I think 10 months will go by incredibly fast,” she said. “I hope Jake will be surprised and happy when he gets back.”

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