Interview with Aberdeen Mayoral Candidate/City Council President Mike Hiob:
As part of The Dagger’s coverage of the City of Aberdeen’s municipal election on Nov. 3, the following questions were presented to each candidate for mayor and city council.
The five questions (bolded and boxed) were chosen to generate discussion on specific topics. The candidates’ answers have been included verbatim as received by email or reported following an interview.
1) If you are unsuccessful in your re-election bid and never return to office, what will your legacy be? How do you want to be remembered?
1.) First of all, I intend to succeed. Either way, I would prefer my legacy (that’s a strong word) to be that “Mike Hiob was a Councilman that had the courage to make decisions that were always in the best interest of the City…..NOT looking toward the next election”. In other words, leave with my integrity untainted.
2) Do you believe Aberdeen gets enough “bang for its buck” from the city police department? Would Aberdeen be better off dissolving the APD and handing protection over to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office? What changes, if any, are needed within APD – underfunded, overfunded, top-heavy, etc?
2.) In one word….ABSOLUTELY. That doesn’t mean there’s not room for improvement (no organization or department is perfect). I believe the City’s crime stats under the law enforcement efforts of A.P.D., as well as their record of awards from the Governor on down verifies my opinion. My “part one” answer should explain my “part two” answer….I would never vote to dissolve A.P.D. and turn over law enforcement to the Harford County Sheriff Dept. I don’t claim to be an expert on law enforcement, but I’ve learned a lot over the past 6 years. I can tell you one change that needs to happen though. The A.P.D. needs support from it’s Mayor AND Council Members. Currently, only the Council Members seem to be supporting the A.P.D. As far as funding is concerned, I believe that the department (in general) is funded adequately (especially considering the economy). But I would suggest that more flexibility should be built into their budget. In other words, give the department the ability to shift funding from one budget line to another, as long as the total amount doesn’t end up being more.
3) What do you believe is the best path to securing Aberdeen an affordable, sustainable, longterm water supply?
3.) Surface water from a tidal source. This source would provide a virtually unlimited supply of water, BUT would require a more intensive process to make it potable. Will the City go about this on it’s own, or will we be part of a regional / countywide co-op, with participation from the 3 municipalities and Harford County? That question that cannot be answered at this time. One advantage of a “regional solution” would be that all users would pay the same rate, thereby “leveling the playing field” within Harford County. One thing is certain…paying 5.44 million dollars for 300,000 gallon per day is NOT “a historic agreement” in any way, shape or form (as Mayor Bennett claims on his current campaign literature). It is quite simply a short, to mid-term solution that could have been accomplished almost two years ago if leadership had prevailed.
4) If the Wetlands team came back with another proposal for annexation similar to the one talked about two years ago (including the millions of dollars upfront for city infrastructure, funding for city personnel and equipment, new fire substation, etc), what would your vote be and why?
4.) The entire Council (Mayor included) voted for the first “Wetlands” annexation, that included all of the “amenities” that you described, but I believe it was more like 3 years ago (not 2). That being said, one member decided to change their mind and come out against the annexation, but the annexation was approved with a 4 to 1 vote. Ultimately, the annexation failed by referendum. But your question is “what would my vote be, and why”? If the “proposal” was similar (as you suggest), then I would vote for it again. I believed it was a net gain for the City back then, and I still do. I could try to explain the multitude of reasons as part of my answer, but it would take pages. I will say this though….”The Wetlands”, or “Glengarry” WILL one day be developed (within Aberdeen, OR in Harford County). If it happens in the City, we can control what type of development takes place. If it’s just outside of the City, we control nothing. If you don’t believe me, or fail to understand, then look just a “stones throw” away at the former Beechtree Golf Course. It closed at the end of last year, only to be sold to a residential developer. Soon, hundreds of houses WILL be built on what was a beautiful golf course. We (Aberdeen) get the traffic, school crowding, and many other perceived negative ramifications. We (Aberdeen again) don’t get to control the development, we don’t receive property taxes, we lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars for water and sewer connection fees (that could be used for repair and/or replacement of our existing failing infrastructure), etc. Basically, Aberdeen is rapidly becoming the dreaded “hole in the doughnut” (and I’m not talking about something good like “Dunkin Munchkins”!) Aberdeen needs to progress, not be stagnant. Besides, why does the press always focus on this area? Just last month, Mayor Bennett introduced a 70 acre residential annexation request. This is simply an addition to the existing Woodland Green/Chapel Glen subdivisions off of Bush Chapel Road (all by the same developer). Once again, this is NOT a bad thing. To wrap this long answer up, I will say that development is NOT bad if it’s done properly (and I believe the city CAN develop properly with experienced leadership). Look at the many wonderful neighborhoods that have been added to Aberdeen over the years….Hillsdale, Wyndemere, Ramsgate, Twin Oaks, Royal Exchange, Rock Glenn, and the aforementioned Woodland Green and Chapel Glen (sorry if I missed yours!). These were all as a result of annexation. We wouldn’t be Aberdeen without these great neighborhoods. Finally, if we plan accordingly, we can grow our tax base, while providing opportunities for the next generation of our citizens.
5) Who do you hope is elected to the city council and why?
5.) For the sake of Aberdeen, I hope that I am elected as Mayor. I have served 3 consecutive terms on the City Council, and as I stated earlier, my decisions are always made for what (I believe) are in the best interest of our city. I have the knowledge, experience and integrity to lead our city through, and out of this recession. Beyond that, I would like to stay out of the “endorsement” area. As Mayor of Aberdeen, one of my many goals is to work with the entire City Council as a team (something that has been sorely missing for quite some time). Therefore, in the interest of not wanting to potentially jeopardize my future relationship with potential colleagues, I won’t publicly state “who I hope is elected to the City Council” (but thanks for the bait!)
From Hiob’s biography on the city website:
Council President Michael “Mike” Hiob was born January 14,1959, at Harford Memorial Hospital. Mr. Hiob is a lifelong resident of Aberdeen. He resides on Graceford Drive in Burkley Manor with his wife, Barb and two children, Adam and Hannah. Council President Hiob attended St. Joan of Arc Elementary School, graduated from Aberdeen High School (Class of 1977), and attended Harford Community College. For ten years he was employed by Dynamic Science, Inc. as an Engineering Technician at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Since 1990, Council President Hiob has been employed by Harford County Government as an Environmental Enforcement Inspector. Mr. Hiob is a member of the New Harford Democratic Club, a charter member of the Aberdeen Recycling Committee, a 2004 graduate of the Harford Leadership Academy, and a 2005 graduate of the Maryland Municipal League Excellence in Governance. Council President Hiob was elected in November 2003 and is serving his third term on the City Council. He was appointed by the Mayor to serve as council liaison to the Fire Department, the Planning & Zoning Commission, and the Tree Committee.
Aberdeen Voter says
I Like Mike!
I reside in Bel Air and can’t vote in the Aberdeen election obviously. But I want to share that Michael is my brother, and from experience I know he can really squeeze the most out of a dollar. He’s always been fiscally conservative without being “cheap” and gotten his “bang for the buck” as I’ve read here. My parents have moved to Chincoteaque, VA and all four of Michael’s siblings have long since moved out of Aberdeen. He’s the only one in our family of seven who stayed, and he stayed because he truly cares about the community. He also has integrity; which should account for a lot in today’s world. “I LIKE MIKE” too! Actually, I love you and am proud of you dude!
I like Mike too! I’m also not an Aberdeen resident. But I am a friend of Mike (and Barb) and I know that they really care about Aberdeen. I’m just sorry that politics is such an ugly business. But Mike always manages to rise above the petty stuff and really is guided by the ideals he stated in his interview with the Dagger. The residents of Aberdeen would do well to elect Mike Hiob their next mayor.
vietnam vet says
I think when the dust clears. Mike Hiob.will be the next Mayor of Aberdeen.
Dave Yensan says
Good job Mike. I hope that the folks who read this realize that yours is one of the few that attempt to actually answer the question without any Loony Toons comments.
Question, If Mike is elected will he resign from his job with the County. Is it a conflict of interest being the Mayor and working for the County
How could his job with the County Dept of Public Works be a conflict of interest? Besides, Aberdeen’s mayor is a part time job. What’s the man suppose to do, give up his career and benefits? Come-on, he has a family to support.
I understand he has to have Job, to support his family. As Mayor if your in talks with the County about a project will this influence his decision because he works for the county. If a Teacher is elected to the County Council, he can no longer teach. What is the difference?
Lance Hersh says
Actually this would be to the advantage of the City. He would have inside knowledge of things going on that Aberdeen could benefit from. Also, if you don’t know Mike Hiob very well, you would know that he is capable of putting bias to the side and make the right decisions for both his job and the City. Your analogy is same as if you were on a jury and you are white and the defendant if white, you would let them off because of there skin color. Different type of senerio, put it’s the same type of thought process. You do the right thing. Mike Hiob will do the right thing.
That is a TERRIBLE law. While the county council distributes money to the school board, it is the school board that determines how the money is spent. Teachers (or any county employee whose pay is not directly determined by the council) should be allowed to run for the county council. By boycotting these candidates, we are turning our backs on a huge area of expertise that should be represented on such a body.
Lance, you do have a good point. However, as Hooter said,he needs his county job since the city position is only part time. So I think we all need to not discount the strong possibility of a conflict of interest-and the possibility that decision would be based on the fact that Hiob NEEDS his county job. Hooter, seriously you don’t think his job with Harford County Public Works wouldn’t ever be a conflict of interest? Hiob couldn’t even be included in the water agreement due to this conflict,and at that time he was only a councilman.
We used to have a school board member who was a senior VP with a large commercial real estate firm, MacKenzie. This person was in a position to decide where to build schools, like on MacKenzie property. Or whether or not to support large shopping centers being built adjacent to elementary schools. And whether or not to support allowing liquor licenses much closer to schools so his company could build on this property because they felt they needed restaurants with liquor licenses to support shopping centers to make enough money on this project. Then we talk about the magnet program slated for the Bel Air High School that is already pretty close to capacity. Same school board member was also on the Upper Chesapeake Foundation board. In the redistricting they needed to leave room if they planned on a magnet program there. You can complain to the ethics panel but the ethics panel members are chosen by the members of the board of education. Too crazy for me to even believe when I was going through it. Politics in Harford County is insane. When you can’t even keep a school board from being sucked into it, good luck with your politicians!
Mayoral Candidate Mike Hiob says
Simple answer: The County Council controls the amount of money budgeted to the school board. If a “teacher” is elected to the County Council, that person would be able to control their own income through legislation (in essence, legislate their own destiny). Since I work for Harford County Government and intend to be Mayor of Aberdeen, there’s no potential for that type of conflict. Any other potential or perceived conflicts of interest would be mooted by my integrity (which I have not compromised).
If a matter does become a conflict of interest then he should do the right thing and recluse himself and allow the Council President to handle that matter.
Just my thought process on the subject. I certainly don’t believe he should resign from his full-time job and loose his retirement and benefits.
On Looker says
Mike Hiob wasnt allowed in the water meetings with the county not because he is a county employee, but beacuse Mike Bennett simply said no to Hiob and instead (as normal) took his puppet master, Art Helton.
Mike Hiob, good job with your answers!
To COACH, NICE TRY !
Delegate Dan Riley says
Your entry is a logical solution which, in one shape or another, is a viable option for every elected representative. It may or may not be covered by any ethics panel or charter, but “conflicts of interest” should always be covered by one’s moral compass, their integrity. Not unless you are Shiela Dixon…
Or Barrack Obama!!!
Or Ted Kennedy!!!
John S says
Coach18, you have a funny outlook here when you ASSUMED that Mike Hiob “couldn’t even be included in the water agreement due to this conflict,and at that time he was only a councilman”. He was not excluded because of his county job but because the Art Helton/Mike B did not want anyone else to know what was going on. Mike B and his campaign manage thought that if they could exclude most of the council Mike B would get all the credit hence elevate his standing at election time. I for one know that it still takes the majority of the council to get anything done.
By the way has anybody noticed that Steve Johnson is again posting Mike B’s signs in illegal areas where permission from the property owner was not given and along state “right of ways”. Says a lot for “trust Mike B”.
Mike Hiob is still the best person for mayor.