On Wednesday, a Maryland court declared a section of the Montgomery Charter unconstitutional and ordered the Montgomery County supervisors of elections to accept my official filing as a candidate for county executive. Since then, friends, reporters, businessmen and politicians have been bombarding me with questions. The chief ones: why do you want to run for county executive? What is wrong with the current leadership? Why do you think you are qualified to do a better job?
I want to run because our county government has become an embarrassment to thoughtful citizens of the county. Republicans, Democrats and independents are asking why our government can't analyze problems, decide on appropriate solutions and put them into effect. We see study after study; but when studies are completed we do not get decisions, we get more studies. On some projects the studies end up costing the taxpayers more than the project itself. As one observer noted, Montgomery County government is giving inefficiency a bad name.
Our county government is a large and growing operation serving more than 579,000 residents. It employs approximately 9,000 dedicated people outside the school system. The budget for fiscal year 1983 is $781.1 million. Running an organization of this size requires a leader who can make decisions and see that they are carried through even though they might not meet with unanimous approval.
In the absence of necessary leadership and management directives, the morale of county employees is low; we face tax increases without increases in service; and citizens feel frustrated and lose interest in trying to make the county a better place to live, work and raise a family. Residents are willing to pay taxes to meet needed services. They are not willing to pay higher and higher taxes to subsidize inefficient and questionable management practices. Compassion and efficiency are not mutually exclusive. In fact, one might argue that it is anything but compassionate to waste money when legitimate needs are unmet.
The future growth and prosperity of Montgomery County and its citizens will depend increasingly on the growth and development of the private sector. My background in business, government and civic and political affairs enables me to view the problems of the county and address these concerns constructively.