Councilmen vie for mayor's job

Havre de Grace race leaves three open seats in the six-member City Council

May 06, 2007|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun Reporter

Regardless of the result, the mayor of Havre de Grace after Tuesday's election will be a familiar face to city government.

All three candidates running against incumbent John P. Correri Jr. are current City Council members who are giving up their seats for a shot at becoming mayor.

And the effect of Frederick H. Cullum, Wayne Dougherty and Gary A. Wasielewski entering the race is that the six-member council will be remade. The three are the most senior members of the council and have each served multiple terms.

"There has been a lot of comment about that loss of experience [on the council]," Dougherty said. "If in fact three new people are elected, with proper orientation, it should be a smooth transition."

Wasielewski emphasized the potential benefits to having a slew of new council members making decisions for the town of about 11,000.

"Just because you've run before, it doesn't mean you'll have all the answers," he said. "New people means new blood and new experiences."

Residents can cast their ballots from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the social hall of St. Patrick's Church at 615 Congress Ave.

Correri said the large field in the mayor's race reflects "a strong sign of the community."

Last fall, Correri lost a bid for the Harford County Council seat for District F, which includes Havre de Grace. Two of his challengers for the mayor's seat, Dougherty and Cullum, have pledged not to seek higher political office.

"I have no aspiration for higher office, no further than the city as mayor," Cullum said.

When asked whether he believes that Correri's bid for the county seat could affect voter opinion, Cullum said, "Some people will feel ... that if somebody was willing to walk away from the position and abandon it, they're not interested in it."

But Correri said he was motivated to run for the county seat out of a desire to represent his hometown.

"Havre de Grace is a large portion of that district and we decided that we wanted good representation for the district," said Correri, who lost to Democrat Mary Ann Lisanti, a former city manager for Havre de Grace, in the County Council race.

The mayor and council members serve two-year terms. Three of the six council seats are up for grabs each year.

The eight candidates vying for the council seats are: James Allen Boyle, Randolph Craig, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Barbara Jenifer-Ferguson, Joe Kochenderfer, Kalman Riegelhaupt, Herman Schweers Jr. and James Walker.

Riegelhaupt, Kochenderfer and Jenifer-Ferguson are former council members.

Craig is the son of Harford County Executive David R. Craig, who began his political career as a Havre de Grace council member in 1979.


A brief look at the candidates for mayor, along with their answer to the question: Why should citizens vote for you?

JOHN P. CORRERI JR. (incumbent)

Age: 55 Occupation: Sales and marketing Background: Served as mayor the past two years and served almost 25 years in city government.

"It boils down to experience and trust. Those are two big things that I bring."


Age: 57 Occupation: Retired firefighter, current City Council member Background: Served on the council for 12 years, including three years as council president

"Because of my experience, my availability to do the job, and my desire to do the job."


Age: 59 Occupation: Retired from law enforcement, current City Council member Background: Served on the council for 6 1/2 years

"My vision is a safe community for all our citizens and visitors to our city."


Age: 32 Occupation: Teacher, current council member Background: Served on council for four years, teaches government, law and U.S. history at Havre de Grace High School

"Citizens of Havre de Grace need a mayor who respects their input, values their participation and will create a solid city government ... I will be that mayor."

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