Slutzky to seek council presidency

Veteran Harford County Councilman Richard "Dick" Slutzky says he will run for the council presidency to succeed Council President Billy Boniface, who isn't running for re-election. (AEGIS FILE PHOTO, The aegis / March 14, 2006)

Harford County Councilman Dick Slutzky has announced he is running for council president.

The three-term councilman, a resident of Aberdeen, said he hopes to replace Council President Billy Boniface, who has announced he won't see re-election after serving eight years in the post.

Although he has already filed to run for re-election to his District E seat representing Aberdeen and Churchville, Slutzky said Monday he decided the dynamics of the council are in transition and other council members are weighing their options.

"Hopefully I can serve," he said during a media event to show off the new Maryland House travel plaza on I-95 near Aberdeen.

Slutzky, a Republican and a retired Harford County teacher and high school athletic coach, said he made his intentions to seek the council presidency at a Harford County Farm Bureau meeting on Friday.

Slutzky has served as vice-president on the council and sometimes sat in for Boniface when the president was unavailable. The post of vice president is filled based on the consensus of the other members of the council, not chosen by the voters.

Slutzky was elected to the county council in 2002 and re-elected in 2006 and 2010.

According to the Harford County Board of Elections website, two other Republicans, Todd Paterniti, of Abingdon, and Jim Rutledge, of White Hall, have filed to run for council president.

Paterniti ran for a council seat once before, losing against Chad Shrodes in 2010.

He said he had been debating running again and that his friends and acquaintances around the county said he should.

Paterniti said he knows a lot about the county, having lived here since 1970, and has seen some "things that are stressful to people living in the county."

"I'm excited," he said. "I hate the word 'politics' because I really want to take the politics out of politics."

Rutledge, who previously ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, did not return a call requesting comment as of Tuesday afternoon.