Bob Culver will seek treatment for liver cancer

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver.

Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver confirmed Monday that he has been diagnosed with liver cancer and will seek treatment and possibly an organ transplant.

Culver, 67, first broke the news on Thursday, when he informed county department heads and other key employees.

He made clear on Monday that he will not step down and will continue in office while fighting the disease. He also announced he fully prepares to seek re-election in 2022.

Culver said he received several blood transfusions as an infant and apparently contracted Hepatitis B. He said doctors at Peninsula Regional Medical Center diagnosed him with hepatocellular carcinoma, sometimes called hepatoma, and have referred him to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for further treatment.

Culver said about 70 percent of his liver is cancerous.

“I have received great medical advice and will see doctors at Hopkins,” Culver said. “I feel great and will continue working for the people of Wicomico County.”

He said he had heard from lots of friends and county business colleagues who offered encouragement, which he has appreciated. Culver said he might have to reduce his 12-hours to 14-hours-per-day work regimine to 10 hours, but will not reduce his professional commitment.

Culver has noticeably lost weight in recent months, but said he had no indication of a health problem. “I’ve been feeling great. I feel great,” he said. “This has come as a surprise.”

Culver, who lives in Whitehaven, is a former County Council member and lifelong Wicomico County resident. Before his election in 2014, he was well known in the local business community as an entrepreneur, having worked as a contractor, developer, Realtor and restaurant operator.

He was re-elected to a second four-year term in 2018, having bested two challengers in the general election.

In defeating incumbent County Executive Rick Pollitt in 2014, Culver ran on a pro-business, pro-economic development platform. He has governed during a positive economic cycle and has achieved notable feats, including building the county’s reserve fund, overseeing road repair projects, allowing alcohol sales at the Civic Center and ensuring that school projects remain on schedule.

His second term has, however, been hampered by quarrels with the legislative branch over competing interpretations of the County Charter and department head appointments. 

Under sections 407 and 408 of the charter, in the event of the temporary absence or disability of the County Executive, the Director of Administration — a position held by Wayne Strausburg — shall perform the duties of the County Executive.

If the office becomes vacant, the County Council has 45 days to appoint a successor to serve until the 2022 election. That appointee would need to come from the executive’s political party — Culver is a Republican — and would have to meet the same qualifications for office as anyone who might seek the job.

Only the second person to ever hold the post in Wicomico, Culver has been an active leader known to engage in a seven-day work schedule.

One business Culver is known for locally was his creation of the paddle boat rentals operation decades ago in City Park — a business that lasted more than 30 years.

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