Perrone stepping back from Harford council to focus on career, personal life

It will be one term and done for Harford County Councilman Mike Perrone, at least where 2018 is concerned.

After four years of representing the Edgewood and Joppa areas, Perrone plans to re-focus on his accounting career and personal life after his four-year term ends in December 2018.

“I knew, going in, that there would be more to serving on the council than going to meetings and voting on legislation,” Perrone, 41, said Monday, while recalling he had wanted to serve only a single term when he campaigned.

Perrone, a Republican who lives in Joppa, unseated incumbent Democrat Dion Guthrie in the 2014 general election. He is one of three members of the seven-member, all-GOP, all-male council elected to their first terms three years ago and is the council’s second-youngest member after Joe Woods, who is 39.

He is the only council member thus far who has said for certain he won’t be back, although Councilman Jim McMahan, who represents the Bel Air area, has filed to run for a seat in the House of Delegates. McMahan is in his third term.

Woods, who joined the council in 2008, said last week he intends to run for re-election to his seat representing the Fallston and Abingdon areas.

Woods, an employee of FEMA, said in a telephone interview last week that he has been leading a command center tasked with distributing water and helping hurricane victims in northern and central Florida find housing. That has caused him to miss several recent council meetings, but he listened in to a Comprehensive Zoning Review hearing last week via Skype.

Perrone has lived in Joppa for most of his life and is a 1993 graduate of Joppatowne High School. He was working toward a license as a certified public accountant and running The Sharing Table, a nonprofit soup kitchen and food pantry, hosted by Prince of Peace Church in Edgewood, when he ran for the county council.

“As cliché as it sounds, I really think if we want honesty and transparency in government, then regular people have to step up every once in a while and run,” he said.

Perrone has often been the lone voice on several issues that have come before the council, attacking excessive government spending, giveaway programs to businesses, and most prominently, the pay raise the current council voted in for the council members elected next year.

He cast the only vote against the raise legislation and was effectively shunned by the other six members when he offered several amendments late last year to legislation geared toward opening up the Magnolia area in his council district to more housing development.

None of the amendments received a courtesy second, which angered several Joppa area community leaders.

Two Republicans, Paula Mullis, chair of the Joppa/Joppatowne Community Council, and Donna Blasdell, Perrone’s legislative aide, have filed to succeed him, as has Guthrie, who served three council terms before losing his seat to Perrone.

Perrone said of Blasedell, who has worked with him since his term started, “She’s a person of integrity, a person of character, and I’m really excited that she’s running.” He has worked with him since his term started.

Perrone said he had passed all of his CPA exams in the spring 2013 and had to complete 2,000 hours of work under a licensed CPA. He finally became licensed in 2016, saying he would have completed the apprenticeship sooner had he not be serving on the council.

Perrone, who works for the Aims Group accounting firm in Essex, estimates he spends about 40 hours a week working in the tax office during income tax season in February, March and April, on top of about 30 hours a week on council business.

He said he spends an average of about five hours a week in the tax office and 60 hours a week on council business during the rest of the year.

“To keep up with that pretty much means that I have very little time to see family — very little time to see friends,” said Perrone, who is not married and has no children.

Perrone said he knew before he got elected to the council he would have to make sacrifices. He expressed deep respect for spouses and children of elected officials. family time.

“I have the utmost respect for family of candidates and elected officials because they make a huge sacrifice,” he said.

Perrone said he is not certain where he will work after his term ends, whether he will go back to accounting in the private sector or provide his skills in the nonprofit arena.

“I need something going on my life to provide fulfillment,” he said. “I need some kind of community service-related endeavor that I can really jump into, sink my teeth into.”

Of his contrarian positions on some legislation, Perrone said, “I’ve done the best I could to advocate for District A.”

He also said he tries to get to as many community events as possible and support community and nonprofit organizations.

He said he spends about a dozen hours a week preparing for council meetings and another 20 to 25 hours “just learning and evaluating and providing feedback” regarding constituent issues.

Perrone said the most enjoyable part of being on council is giving constituents in his district of about 43,000 people the opportunity to have someone listen to their concerns. He does not always have the authority to help them as their issue might not fall into the council’s sector of county government.

He said constituents often appreciate that someone in county government takes the time to listen, though, and he enjoys getting emails from people who express their appreciation.

“That feeling that I get, that’s probably the thing about the job that is the most satisfying, and that makes me feel really good,” he said.

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