Ahead of this spring’s municipal elections, the Carroll County Times has asked candidates to provide information on themselves and their priorities. Their responses are listed here in full.
Barry Guckes is running against Daniel Haines and Darryl Hale for two open seats on the Taneytown City Council. Here are Guckes’ responses.
My wife, Kim, and I moved to Taneytown in 2015. I am retired after 41 years of service to my country, 21 years in the Army/Navy where I attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer and 20 years working for the National Security Agency in a variety of positions with increasing responsibility.
I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management and have successfully completed numerous military technical and leadership courses. I am a member of Taneytown Baptist Church and serve on the Homeowners Association Board of Directors at Carroll Vista. I am a life member of the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
I can be seen around Taneytown at Christmas time sporting my Santa costume in support of the town and the Taneytown Chamber of Commerce.
Why do you want to serve in this role?
Service is a cornerstone of who I am. I have spent almost all of my life in service of some kind. As a kid I was a hospital candy striper and a newspaper boy. As a man I have served in the armed forces, government, and numerous civic organizations. Along the way, I have learned many tools and techniques to help people (and myself) meet their goals. The role of councilman is to help Taneytown and its citizens have a town that is meeting its goals and I believe I can help us meet those goals.
How do you plan to represent your municipality’s interests in the county government?
I intend to be an active and involved councilman. The only way that Taneytown’s citizens can be adequately represented is by an active and aggressive council. I plan to work with my fellow council members to ensure that Taneytown’s needs are always at the forefront of our discussions with County and State representatives.
Name something you would begin working to accomplish as soon as your first week on the job.
One of the things I think local government needs to step up is communications between the council and Taneytown’s citizens. If elected, I plan to work with my fellow council members to develop additional ways and avenues for our citizens to have their voices heard.
What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not?
Over the course of my professional career I have been a program manager for several multi-million dollar projects; I have managed organizations with over 200 personnel; in the process, I have had to make hard decisions (such as determining which people would be sent to work in a combat zone). Although my participation in the Gulf War and numerous combat patrols in the Middle East placed me in extremely difficult living and working conditions, I worked through many organizational changes and learned useful methods for facilitating change while minimizing disruption.
What one thing would you most like to see changed?
Taneytown’s citizens want their voices to be heard. I would like to see the council conduct at least one town hall meeting a year. This would give folks a chance to speak directly to the council to share their ideas and thoughts. Holding a non-binding town hall meeting would allow the council to tap into a source of unlimited ideas and possibly develop them into future town policy or functions.
What are your campaign priorities?
Better communications between the council and Taneytown’s citizens and more civil communications among council members
Continuing to support existing businesses and bring new business into the town, including; new restaurants, more parking and diverse shops.
Modernize the town’s approach. Look at new ways to conduct local elections (electronic voting, voting on Saturdays, or multiple day voting), upgrade business development team, hire a social media coordinator.
What is your position on the currently vacant Taneytown police chief position?
I believe that with any vacancy, the position should be advertised, the candidates should be interviewed, and the best candidate should be given the job. I totally respect the opinion of Taneytown’s officers, but the council and mayor must weigh all of the relevant factors of all of the candidates to find the best person to lead the men and women who protect our citizens.
What is your position on the Civil War memorial proposed for Taneytown?
I understand that plans for this memorial have been stopped. However, like all proposals presented to the council, council members have the duty to the citizens to understand all aspects of a proposal, make recommendations to meet the town’s expectations and except or reject the project based on the designer’s willingness to conform to the town’s specifications.