Bertha Guerra is what you might call a long-distance mayor. On weekdays, she works at her job with the D.C. Department of Environmental Services or in her Northwest Washington home.
When the weekend comes, Guerra packs her bags and leaves for Eagle Harbor, a tiny resort town in the southeasternmost tip of Prince George's County. Along with the 150 or so other weekend residents of Eagle Harbor, Guerra, 38, comes to fish, boat, crab and relax.
Unlike the others though, Guerra also comes to town to take care of her mayoral duties.
"On weekends, I'm free and available whenever people have problems. People usually don't come to me or the commission with too many problems until the first Saturday of every month when we hold town meetings."
Over the last few months, Guerra and the town commission have been working to raise money for a new roof on the town hall and a new sea wall behind it. She says the commission also plans to put up new street signs but has had trouble finding citizens to do the work.
"The problem we have is that there aren't many people in town until the weekend and then they are pretty tired," she said.
Guerra, for two years secretary of the local civic association, said she first considered running for the local commission when several friends urged her to do so. Her mother, who had served briefly on the commission, also urged her to run.
Not only did Guerra win one of the five commission seats, but she was the highest vote-getter. Following a long tradition, the other commissioners then elected her mayor -- the first woman to hold the position.
'I see my work as mayor as an extension of my civic activism," said Guerra.
"However, I think this job requires a full-time person. Because I can't be in Eagle Harbor all the time, I have to delegate too much responsibility and things don't get done as quickly as I'd like."
Guerra says that she has no plans to run for a second two-year term, even though she has enjoyed the work.
"You learn a lot about people and how to deal with them as an officeholder, but you have to be willing to put in a lot of time," she said. "That's pretty difficult when you live 35 miles away.
"However, I'm sure we'll have another woman mayor sometime soon since there don't seem to be as many active men in Eagle Harbor as there used to be."