Boyer to run for Frederick Co. office

December 19, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Instead of coasting, Linda Boyer would rather shift gears.

After leading the Carroll Transit System out of a financial crisis that threatened to dissolve the county's only public transportation agency, Mrs. Boyer has decided to resign in February so that she can run for commissioner in Frederick County.

That is, after she takes a month off to relax.

Mrs. Boyer, 47, of Mount Airy, has had a year of personal crises that paralleled the agency's financial one, but appears to have lost none of her compulsion to stay active.

By last winter, the board was in the red $30,000 and wondering whether to go out of business. But a combination of $60,000 in fund raising from the community, several small contracts Mrs. Boyer put together and a new contract with the county have put it on sound financial footing.

Mrs. Boyer expects to end the year in June with a $15,000 surplus.

The achievement won the agency a "most improved" award from the Transportation Association of Maryland.

"There was nowhere to go but up," Mrs. Boyer said.

When she was hired to direct Carroll Transit in April 1992, her charge was to find a way to close the ailing agency or to make it solvent. Several factors were working against the nonprofit transportation company, including money lost in the savings-and-loan debacle and constant changes in the way state agencies paid it.

The same month she started at Carroll Transit, her father died. Six months later, one of her brothers died. Both of those losses came unexpectedly. Her mother was terminally ill and living in Florida with Mrs. Boyer's other brother, who is disabled. Mrs. Boyer had no other siblings, aunts or uncles to help.

"There was no one else," she said. So, while she was scrambling last winter to keep Carroll Transit afloat and put together contracts with local agencies and county government, she was also making trips to Florida to care for her mother and brother.

"Looking back on it, I think having Carroll Transit was a good balance for me," Mrs. Boyer said. "It gave me an opportunity to have something to get my mind off of it and something else to focus on."

In February, she brought her mother and brother to live with her in Mount Airy. Her mother died in April.

Mrs. Boyer talks much about the successes, less about the adversity. Her brother, she said, is doing well, living and working in Frederick.

Carroll Transit's board hired a director last week, but it will wait to announce the name at a meeting tomorrow morning with the county commissioners, said Peggie Roland, president of the board.

The new director will start in February, she said. Mrs. Boyer said she will stay on until then, wait a month and file her name to run for commissioner in Frederick County.

"I'm not sure I look at it as jumping into the next frying pan," she said. "I'm happy if I'm busy and I think I make a difference."

Her political career began with two terms as Mount Airy mayor, ending in 1990 when she lost a bid for re-election. She ran unsuccessfully two years ago for commissioner in Frederick County, but was not discouraged.

She chose not to keep her job at Carroll Transit while running for office.

"You mean just in case I lose I'll have something to fall back on?" she says with a smile.

"I have every intention of winning," she said. "I couldn't give as much as I would need to give to Carroll Transit if I'm running for office. I didn't want to shortchange them."

Mrs. Roland credits Mrs. Boyer with "saving the agency."

"She's a very dynamic leader, and a very dynamic manager," Mrs. Roland said. "Very people-oriented and community oriented."

During one of Mrs. Boyer's trips to Florida last winter, Mrs. Roland had to step in to run the agency.

"Everything that could go wrong did go wrong," Mrs. Roland said. "We had vehicle problems, many questions about a grant proposal. Insurance needed to be reviewed.

"When Linda got back I was so glad to see her, and I realized what an overwhelming job that could be.

"By the time she got back, I've just never been so grateful to see a person in all my life. What an experience to find out what it really takes to run that shop."

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