New Windsor's mayor to lead Maryland Municipal League

Nonpartisan group works to strengthen local governments

June 28, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare and Brenda J. Buote | Mary Gail Hare and Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The mayor of New Windsor will soon be accountable to 157 Maryland towns.

Jack A. Gullo Jr., two-term mayor of one of the state's smallest municipalities, will be named president of the Maryland Municipal League during the association's annual meeting in Ocean City, which begins today. Gullo, 30, succeeds New Carrollton Mayor Andrew C. Hanko.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening will swear Gullo into office tomorrow, making him the fourth Carroll County resident and the youngest to serve as league president. James McCarron and Neal Powell, both of Taneytown, and Edward Williar of Union Bridge led the league during their political careers.

Gullo's mother, Diana Gullo, his sister, Kathy Gullo, and members of the New Windsor Town Council are expected to attend the ceremony.

The nonpartisan league, established in 1936, promotes municipal interests and works with its members to strengthen local government.

The swearing-in will be the culmination of his years of service in the all-volunteer organization, said Gullo, who has served the league since 1993 in various leadership positions. He led the Carroll chapter in 1995 and has served as president of the league's mayors association. Gullo was also twice appointed chairman of the legislative committee that drafts the league's priorities in the General Assembly.

As league president, Gullo said he intends "to foster a good internal relationship among members and a strong relationship with the counties. The whole idea is to make the league prosper."

The three-day convention draws about 700 local and state officials each year. Gullo's first official act will be to convene the board of directors Wednesday.

During his one-year term as president, Gullo said he will spend much time on the road, fulfilling a promise to attend all town meetings in which league officials and committee members participate.

"I want to go to these meetings and talk about MML," said Gullo. "Without these volunteers, the league could not function. I want to publicly thank them and encourage others to participate."

The convention gives town leaders the chance to meet with other municipal officials and learn about the topics that touch local governments, from playground safety to tourism.

This year's convention will focus on several issues, including potential Y2K computer problems -- feared when the calendar switches from 1999 to 2000 -- and the 2000 census.

"You can pick up anything you ever wanted to know about town government from people who have been there," Gullo said. "We talk about problems and how we can solve them."

Gullo is scheduled to lead a workshop on the revitalization of older Main Streets, a process that New Windsor has begun. It's an issue that is sure to draw a lot of attention with towns across the state struggling to find innovative ways to breathe new life into aging business districts.

Chip Boyles, city manager of Taneytown, said he plans to attend the workshop to "learn how other towns revitalized their downtown. I'm always looking for new ideas and, over the years, I've found these type of round-table discussions to be very helpful."

Boyles said discussions at a previous league convention taught him how to secure funding for construction of Taneytown's wastewater treatment plant. The facility is expected to be completed in January.

"We found out about a lot of different funding mechanisms that we could tap into for the project," said Boyles.

The town has received a $1.7 million grant from the state Department of the Environment and a loan from the agency for the balance of the $7.2 million cost of the project.

"You never know what you're going to pick up at the convention," said Boyles, "but each time I go, I learn something new."

Pub Date: 6/28/99

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