Council sets Aug. 11 deadline for Executive applications

Wicomico County Council members are expected to begin the hard work of selecting a successor to County Executive Bob Culver on Wednesday, Aug. 12.

The council has set an application deadline of Aug. 11 for any qualified county resident who wants to be considered.

The initial indications are that the ultimate list of contenders will not be released and any interviews will be conducted in a closed session. The formal appointment would come in an open session, with a majority council vote.

Under the County Charter, council members have until Wednesday, Sept. 9, to officially name a new County Executive. 

Applicants must be of the same political party as Culver, who was elected as a Republican.

Under the charter, any possible successor must:

  • Be a resident and qualified voter of the county for at least five years immediately preceding the appointment.
  • Be 25 years of age at the time of appointment.
  • May not hold any other office of profit in federal, state, county or municipal government during the term in office.

The hiring process also requests applicants submit a resume with a biography, and a completed job application.

The charter sets the County Executive’s annual salary at $85,000.

The appointed County Executive would hold the office until the November 2022 election. Culver won re-election to a second four-year term in 2018.

The charter also mandates that someone who holds the office cannot hold a county office or position — except as a County Council member — for one year after the termination of their appointed term.

Culver died of liver cancer on July 26, after nearly six years in the post. While there are several probable contenders to succeed him, Culver left no obvious successor.

The County Executive form of government has been in effect since 2006 and only two men have served in the post — Republican Culver and Democrat Rick Pollitt.

Wicomico Director of Administration John Psota is serving as Acting County Executive until the County Council can appoint a successor. The charter gives Psota, who formerly served as Fruitland City Manager, all of the powers that Culver had while in the position.

In a matter of a few weeks, Psota has gone from serving as administrative head of Maryland’s 187th largest city with a population of just over 5,300, to the executive leader of the state’s 13th largest county with more than 103,000 residents.

While there have been no official announcements, one man is known to want the job and another is believed to be a contender.

State Delegate Carl Anderton of Delmar has been courting support within the business community and elsewhere. A former Delmar Mayor, he made local political history when he defeated Democratic incumbent Norm Conway in 2014.

To become County Executive, Anderton would have to give up his District 38B General Assembly post, where he serves as a member of the vaunted House Appropriations Committee.

Council Vice President John T. Cannon is also expected to vie for the post. Cannon has served as the council president in previous terms.

He was first elected to the council in 2006, left the council to run for the House of Delegates in 2010, but was elected anew to the council in 2014, and re-elected in 2020.

Cannon was considered a possible challenger to Pollitt in 2014 when Culver was first elected, but sought and won a County Council at-large seat instead.

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