January 6, 2017
Former Carroll County Supervisor Mark Beardmore decided not to seek re-election last year after serving eight years on the board. Beardmore was willing to reflect on the past and tell us what’s next in a parting interview with the Daily Times Herald.
What made you decide it was time to hang up your supervisor hat?
Beardmore — It was growing ever more challenging to be in two places at once, splitting time as a supervisor and my increasing role at Wittrock. But ultimately it was my firm belief in term limits. I once had loftier political goals so my original plan was two terms as supervisor then pursue a state or federal position, but I’ve since re-evaluated that and realized I’d rather be at home with my family more. It since has proven to be a wise choice.
What are you most proud of from your time in office? What was your biggest disappointment or regret?
Beardmore — I’m most proud of staying true to myself and who I promised my supporters I would be when elected. I stayed conservative and predictable, which is good when in public office. I’m also quite proud of the fact that we made huge strides in my platform: lowering taxes, improving public communication, and planning for the future. Carroll County homeowners and commercial-property owners pay less in county taxes today than when I entered office in 2009.
The only small regret I have is I would like to have seen how Carroll County would have fared had we not been denied our attempt to exempt us from forced regionalization of mental-health services. We’ll never know. I’m just glad the wheels haven’t come off and that is going fairly well, and mostly thanks to (supervisor) Neil Bock.
What do you see as the greatest challenges for the board moving forward?
Beardmore — What they decide on how best to deal with the old county home (Mallard View) property is certainly the most immediate. And a jail solution looms large in the next couple of years. But the “greatest challenge” I see for them is how to best provide a growing demand for services and tax dollars while maintaining or even reducing our tax asking. As said earlier, it’s been done these past eight years, so maintaining that trend will be the greatest challenge for them. The exponential rising cost of health care for our employees is daunting too.
What was your favorite part of serving Carroll County for eight years?
Beardmore — This is the easiest answer thus far. The people of Carroll County. You would not believe how appreciative and supportive the residents have been. People have literally called, emailed, texted and sent handwritten notes of thanks.
Everywhere I go folks stop me and take the time to express their gratitude. I had three people stop by my office today, in fact. And this isn’t anything new; they’ve done this for eight years.
It’s very heartwarming and gratifying, but most of all, humbling. The people have been the best. I’ll never forget them.
Can you talk about your working relationship with the rest of the supervisors and the importance of teamwork?
Beardmore — Teamwork always gets tossed around in a touchy feely sort of way, but it cannot be overstated just how critical it is for a Board of Supervisors. So perhaps let’s use the word “synergy” instead. Make no mistake, political affiliations do play a role in county government, although there is a misconception they do not, but trust me, they do. That said, all five of us envision a “best-version of Carroll County,” but debates ensue in how to get there. There were no personal agendas during my term by any of the members. We all wanted what’s best for Carroll County. What always mattered most was that we kept rowing the ship in the same direction. It’s OK to have a few 4-1 or 3-2 votes, otherwise, we’d only need one supervisor! We generally always debated with respect and integrity. I will always think of them as my friends who wouldn’t hesitate to respond to any need. That’s huge.
What’s next for you?
Beardmore — To decompress mostly. It’s been a little different settling in to a more relaxed schedule and at the same time very welcome. It feels great so far. But I’m reading your paper and listening to the local news just as intently and plan to remain a conservative voice in the community. Common sense makes no apologies, nor do I.
I hope my health cooperates enough that I can put in a few more highly productive years at Wittrock. I haven’t begun a bucket list or anything just yet and probably won’t until I can hang it up there someday too.
Any parting words or advice for the board moving forward?
Beardmore — Gosh, I’ve already told them I love ’em and wish only the best for them, and may God continue His abundant blessings on Carroll County. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say, “Watch that spending.” Just one more time!