Sykesville's Loss

September 21, 1994

Every town in Carroll County has a handful of people who generously donate their time and energy to ensure that the municipal government runs smoothly. Sykesville Mayor Kenneth Clark has been one such person who would rather get involved than sit on the sidelines. After Monday's council meeting, however, the southern Carroll County town of 2,500 residents will need a new mayor.

Mr. Clark, a 17-year Bell Atlantic employee, is leaving for Terre Haute, Ind., where he will be working for Reuben H. Donnelley, which produces telephone directories. Many residents wish that Mr. Clark had found a new job here; they know how difficult it will be to replace him.

One irony is that Mr. Clark and his family are an example of the "new people," who have been the target of so much scorn by many long-time county residents frustrated by the growth and changes they see in Carroll County. Mr. Clark developed a real understanding and appreciation for Sykesville even though his family didn't have roots that ran several generations deep in local soil.

One year after moving to Sykesville, Ken Clark took a seat on the town's planning commission in 1986. He then ran successfully for the town council, eventually becoming its president. His sensible, level-headed approach to administering the town's affairs endeared him to its residents and employees. While on the council, he was instrumental in computerizing the town's operations, developing a personnel manual for town employees and producing the municipal budget. Mr. Clark also helped to establish Sykesville's historic district. When long-time mayor Lloyd Helt decided not to run for re-election last year, Mr. Clark ran for and won the top spot. Under his administration, Sykesville has continued to be one of the best-managed towns in Maryland.

Mr. Clark's wife, Priscilla, will also be missed. The administrative assistant of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, she was equally active in civic life.

When some residents speak derisively of the "newcomers," they should remember that their ranks include neighbors such as the Clarks, whose energy, ideas and enthusiasm enriched the county. We wish them well in their new community in Hoosier country, which we know will benefit from their presence.

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