Mary L. Kline seeks county seat

March 03, 1998|By BRENDAN KIRBY

by Ric Dugan / staff photographer

Mary Kline

Promising to improve employee morale and cut wasteful spending, a 26-year veteran of county government has launched a bid for a seat on the Washington County Commissioners.

Mary L. Kline, 60, of Clear Spring, said her 26 years in three county government departments give her insight other candidates don't have.

"I know a lot about what goes on," said Kline, a Republican.

Kline, who is now retired, is making her first run for elective office. She said she decided to run after years of contemplation.


"It wasn't a spur-of-the-moment thing. I've been thinking about it before I even retired," she said. "This county can do better than it's been doing."

Kline said she would try to reinvigorate the county's work force. She criticized the county government's bureaucratic layers, which she said keep the commissioners out of touch from their employees.

As a commissioner, Kline said she would make herself available to employees, bypassing the county administrator and personnel director.

One issue facing the county is employee turnover, Kline said.

"They get stomped on, then they leave," she said. "The county has lost a lot of good employees."

Kline also pledged to "curb some of this overspending, unnecessary spending."

She pointed to department supervisors who drive Chevrolet Caprices - the same kind of vehicle her son drives as a Washington County sheriff's deputy. Kline said department supervisors do not need such fancy - or expensive - cars.

Kline also said the county wastes money on studies because they don't amount to much.

Regarding one of the county's most intractable problems - the $53 million water and sewer debt - Kline praised county officials for their decision to close the aging Nicodemus Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Although she said she does not use county sewer, Kline supported using money from the county's general fund to subsidize the Water and Sewer Department.

"The old people in this county need a break," she said. "If it helps relieve some of the debt - fine."

Whatever decision the county makes, they should rely more on taxpayer input, Kline said. She pointed to the county's plan to build a $4.5 million bridge and access road over the Conococheague Creek to the planned Lund Landfill as a prime example.

"The taxpayers had nothing to say about this. Taxpayers had nothing to day about the sewer plant that got us into so much trouble," she said.

Kline graduated from Clear Spring High School and served 2 1/2 years in the Air Force before beginning her career in county government. She worked 10 years as a data processor and eight years each in the personnel and roads departments.

Kline has three children and two grandchildren.

Kline is one of five Republican candidates who have filed or prefiled to run in the commissioners' race. A Democrat also has filed, and two incumbents, Democrat Ronald L. Bowers and Republican James R. Wade, have said they're running.

Candidates have until July 6 to file. The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election is Nov. 3.

The job pays $20,000 a year.

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