A few months ago, Aberdeen City Council President Mike Hiob wasn’t sure if he was going to seek a fourth term on the city council. Now he’s certain he won’t.
Tired of being hampered by ineffectual administrations and uncooperative council members, Hiob, 50, will instead run for mayor of Aberdeen during the city’s non-partisan municipal election on November 3, 2009.
It is unclear, but speculated that incumbent Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett will seek reelection.
Although constituents have been championing Hiob as a mayoral candidate for months, Hiob confided that, until recently, he didn’t even know if his name would appear on the election ballot at all.
A self-proclaimed “family first” husband and father of two, Hiob was leaning toward spending more time with his family and less time tied up and fed up in City Hall.
But when a chance conversation with Gov. Martin O’Malley regarding the city’s water supply ended with the governor urging Hiob to remain in public office and after several local municipal leaders strongly encouraged him to run for mayor, Hiob started mulling the possibility.
In the end, it was Hiob’s wife of 19 years, Barb, who determined his political future – ultimately giving the thumbs-up to his mayoral bid.
Hiob, who has served three terms over six years with two stints as city council president, is at peace with the decision. He knows, one way or another, his days of frustration in City Hall will soon be coming to an end – either he’ll be the one in charge or he’ll be out of elected office altogether.
Virtually politically-invincible during his first two elections, in which he was the leading vote-getter among all city council candidates, Hiob came the closest he ever has to defeat in 2007.
Linked with controversial Mayor Fred Simmons and counterpart Dave Yensan, who were all strong proponents of the Wetlands Golf Course annexation, Hiob came in fourth place and maintained his seat on the city council by just 63 votes.
“I’ve rebuilt a lot of those bridges,” Hiob said Thursday afternoon.
So what does Hiob want to change most in City Hall?
“The council is left out of most of the decision-making process now. As mayor I will strive to include the council.”
“The teamwork has to come back,” he said. “There has to be compromise and that’s just not happening now.”
Compared to the occasionally-bumbling Doug Wilson administration and the occasionally-over-extended Fred Simmons administration, Hiob said the current Mike Bennett administration has set a new low.
“It’s been the least productive,” he added.
The current administration has labeled Hiob as an obstructionist, but he calls himself a fiscally-responsible, SmartGrowth advocate.
Hiob said Aberdeen’s anti-growth attitude has led directly to roughly $600,000 less in capital connection revenue during the last two years – money which would have gone into the dedicated revenue stream to repair aging water and sewer lines.
“People say, ‘You need to fix the old stuff first,’ but there’s no money to do it,” he added.
Employed by Harford County government as an environmental inspector, Hiob said he has “a unique understanding of city and county infrastructure and how it relates.”
If Simmons, an insurance salesman, was Aberdeen’s business-oriented mayor, and Bennett, a retired Maryland State Police lieutenant, has been Aberdeen’s public safety-oriented mayor, then Hiob is poised to serve as the city’s planning and infrastructure-oriented mayor.
Hiob believes the city can create its own “stimulus package” – creating jobs, getting public works projects going, and saving money – if it could just change its anti-development stance.
“The city needs to improve its relationshp with the business community,” he said.
“There’s nothing wrong with growth if it’s done right,” Hiob added.
Here is Hiob’s official city profile:
Council PRESIDENT Michael Hiob
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. Councilman 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.
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