Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano marks 100 days in office
WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. – 100 days into her tenure, Wicomico County Executive Julie Giordano says major accomplishments have been made. But, the County Executive still has major projects in her sights.
On the campaign trail, Giordano touted her commitment to bolstering public safety. Giordano says over the first 100 days, she’s worked closely with Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, and the Fraternal Order of Police on recruitment and retainment efforts.
“We are a community that backs the blue, and in Wicomico County, we stand with law enforcement. As your County Executive, I want to emphasize that this anti-police rhetoric has to stop,” said Giordano.
This work comes as the county firms up its Police Accountability Review Board (PAB). It’s a group that’s mandated by Maryland state law, and Giordano says she doesn’t want to fall behind.
“We’ve been working diligently on the needs of the PAB, and figuring out ways to help them. A lot of it is financial, and that they need certain programs to be able to do their jobs,” said Giordano.
Giordano also marks the end of a lawsuit as a win. The lawsuit involved two retired Wicomico County Sheriff’s deputies, and discrepancies around them receiving benefits and compensation.
“Having that almost be wrapped up, and settling that lawsuit and tying up the loose ends of that, is something that I know affects a small population, but it’s really important to me,” said Giordano.
For decades, Wicomico County has discussed and reevaluated its sewer and water plan. Thursday, legislation creating a sanitary district for the county, and clearing the way for the plan to get started, was favorably voted out of committee.
“This is vital, as it is the first step in implementing our water and sewer master plan. This bill was passed unanimously out of the Senate, and was heard for its first reading in the House just last Thursday,” said Giordano.
Giordano says right now, there are two clear paths for failing septic systems in the county.
“For systems that can be served by a nearby municipality, the recommendation is for the municipality to expand its infrastructure to serve that septic system area… [For systems in a rural area], the Master Plan recommends that the County provide the utility infrastructure to serve those areas,” said Giordano.
It was a top priority for each of the candidates on the County Executive campaign trail, says Giordano.
“All the candidates that ran for County Executive, we all reiterated the importance of this. So, it’s one of those things that I am very proud of, because they see us moving forward in that direction,” said Giordano. “We will continue this process, keeping the health of our citizens and protecting our environment, as a top priority of my administration moving forward.”
County Liquor System
Giordano says she’s also holding steady to reworking the county’s liquor system. Currently, the county operates under a dispensary system, meaning restaurant and bar owners are limited when it comes to where they can buy liquor from.
“I kind of view it as a monopoly for the county. So, we’re looking to move past that,” said Giordano in a February 6th interview with 47 ABC WMDT. “We need to have that local control.”
Now, Giordano says she’s working with Mike Dunn of the Greater Salisbury Committee and Bill Chambers of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce to create a community task force on the matter.
“With [possibly] getting rid of the dispensary, we knew it was going to be a controversial topic. I don’t think I was ready for how controversial it was going to be. So, when that happens it is imperative to have community input,” said Giordano.
Future Projects, Relationship With Council
Looking back and seeing the recruitment and retention efforts, and projects started during her first 100 days in office, Giordano says she’s proud of the entire county. However, future projects are in the pipeline, says Giordano.
One, would centralize the Wicomico County Health Department. The department is dispersed between multiple building locations, and some citizens, like those in the Haitian and Hispanic Communities, could be dealing with a language barrier, says Giordano. Adding, that leaves many at a disadvantage when it comes to health care.
Giordano says this effort could start in the spring, once the budgeting process is wrapped up. “We have done an analysis of the health equity in Wicomico County, and we are doing our citizens a disservice at this point in time. They have to travel all over the county for different services,” she said.
Another goal, is to bring improvements to the central branch of the Wicomico County Public Library, says Giordano. Giordano says Wicomico County’s could use a facelift, to match the resources it offers.
“Our library is fantastic, but it probably needs to be rehabbed a little bit. That seems to be a big community push at this point in time,” said Giordano.
And, when it comes to County Council, Giordano says it’s no secret that their relationship got off to a rocky start. The first few council sessions during Giordano’s tenure often involved heated exchanges.
However, moving forward, Giordano says she’s confident that residents will see there’s more to making local government work, than what they see in Council chambers.
“As [residents] start to see the buildings go up, or the projects completed, they’ll see there is more to that. [The Council] is a vital piece. They are our legislative branch. But, there is a lot more that happens every day,” said Giordano.