Camden Town Councilman Larry Dougherty has filed for election in order to remain part of the turnaround within the town in light of the embezzlement scandal that besieged Camden more than a year ago while former Councilman Richard Snyder has filed mainly to give voters a choice.
Dougherty was appointed to the vacant seat on council in March 2012 while Snyder, for his part, served on council until he was defeated in February 2010 by Laura van Rooten, who has since died.
Dougherty, 66, worked as the manager of operations, planning and scheduling for the Maryland Transit Authority until he retired in June 2010 after nearly 40 years overall at the state agency. He had been attending Town Council meetings as he enjoyed retirement in Delaware and discussed what he knew about finances with Councilman John Green, a local businessman.
"I oversaw selections of contracts and some budget tracking of those contracts," Dougherty said. "Finance and controls – I'm big on those."
Green then successfully nominated Dougherty to fill the seat that became open when Jeffrey Lewin resigned to take a job in Baltimore. Dougherty took the oath of office in March 2012.
At the time, Camden was in the midst of an embezzlement scandal that rocked Camden. Former town manager/chief financial officer Richard Plumley had embezzled $120,000 with help from a Smyrna contractor. Plumley paid the town back $90,000 and received a 10-year, suspended prison sentence, after he pled guilty to charges.
Snyder, a local handyman and building inspector for the towns of Wyoming and Cheswold, wanted to see Dougherty earn the seat this time around. And, when it appeared that Dougherty would go unopposed, Snyder filed to run at the last minute to give Dougherty a run for his money, if nothing else, he said.
Snyder's platform is simple – to be a watchdog for taxpayers, he said.
"I've been on council before," Snyder said. "The town needs to stay within their budget. I have to stay within mine. I have to pay my bills and I don't buy anything extra unless I have the money. If I want to buy something , I plan for it. I've raised my family. I own everything I have."
But Camden Town Council is already on the right course, Dougherty said.
"Right now, we're getting to the point where we're going to have half a million dollars in our savings account," he said. "That's three months of expenses; I'd like to see it at six. We didn't have that before.
"And we corrected the AC problems that had been in existence at Town Hall since its inception," Dougherty said. "We've gotten most of the storm drains around town repaired. Also, we've gotten new servers and computer hardware and upgraded the computer system with firewalls."
Page 2 of 2 - In addition, Camden eliminated excess space at Town Hall by renting out the third floor to DSIP Delaware Insurance, Dougherty said.
Nonetheless, Snyder still believes there is room for improvement on council, he said.
"The main thing about a councilperson is they've got to learn how to say no and they've got to watch the people who are handling our money," Snyder said. "You're just not a councilman one day of the month. You're a councilman for the whole term.
"When I was councilman, I was in town at least once a day every day so I knew what was going on all the time. Nothing flew by me," he said. "The town elected me; I served me. I considered it a privilege."
MORE ABOUT DOUGHERTY
FAMILY Wife, Linda; three sons; one daughter; one stepson; five grandchildren, two step-grandchildren
EDUCATION Bachelor of Business Administration from University College (University of Maryland); associate’s degree in general education from Baltimore Community College
OCCUPATION Retired, former manager of operations, planning and scheduling for the Maryland Transit Authority
CIVIC EXPERIENCE Camden Town Councilman, Barclay Farms Civic Association treasurer, former president and treasurer of Fox Chase (Md.) Homeowners Association (10 years overall)
MORE ABOUT SNYDER
FAMILY Wife, Emily; two daughters, Nichole and Amanda
EDUCATION Diploma from Caesar Rodney High School
OCCUPATION Buildings inspector for Town of Wyoming and Town of Cheswold, maintenance contractor
CIVIC EXPERIENCE Member of the Manufactured Housing Installation Board for the State, former Camden Town Councilman
IF YOU GO
WHAT Camden Municipal Election
WHO Camden residents 18 and older and properly registered to vote with the Department of Elections for Kent County are eligible to vote. The last day to register for this election was Feb. 1.
WHEN Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23
WHERE Camden Town Hall, 1783 Friends Way, Camden
CONTACT Call Town Clerk Jamie Fenske at (302) 697-2299 for more information.