Mount Airy special election candidate: Scott Sirchio

Mount Airy special election candidate: Scott Sirchio
Scott Sirchio, 45, is running for the Mount Airy Town Council seat vacated by former Councilman Scott Strong. An alternate member of the Planning Commission, Sirchio prioritizes economic development and securing natural resources to ensure a prosperous future for the town.

He’s secured the title of doctor, having completed a Ph.D in inorganic chemistry at the University of Maryland. The 45-year-old has excelled in his career as a chemist and branch head at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda.

Now, Scott Sirchio, an alternate on the Town of Mount Airy’s Planning Commission, wants to add the title Town Councilman to his resume.


It’s not about the title, but about giving back to the small town he’s grown to love over the 17 years he’s lived there, he said. After he heard that former Councilman Scott Strong would be vacating his seat July 9 he decided to run to take his involvement to the next level, Sirchio said.

Sirichio is one of three candidates vying for the vacant seat in a special election scheduled for Monday, Sept. 10, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company Reception Hall at 1008 Twin Arch Road.

“I feel I’m at a point in my life where I want to give back. I want to give back to the town that I live in,” Sirchio told the Times in a phone interview. “I think I have the experience. I’m hearing what the people want, I can give them what they want. I have ideas as to how to get there.”

Town Councilman Bob King, who nominated Sirchio to run in the election, agreed. The timing is right, he said. “Scott is about to go all in.”

Sirchio started to get more active in town about a decade ago, first assuming the treasurer role for his neighborhood homeowners association, he said. Twin Arch Crossing is a big development, featuring about 250 homes, which called for interaction with the Town Council, Sirchio added.

“I’ve learned that you have to seek win-win solutions,” he said. “You can’t just get what’s good for the HOA and not good for the town, and the town can’t do what’s good for them and not for the HOA.

“We’re all residents in the same town.”

Sirchio’s job involves managing staff, both from a human resources and a get-the-job-done perspective, he said. “My staff is made up of human beings, so I have to make sure they’re treated like human beings and that we move our goals forward while still being good to each other and respectable.”

King cited Sirchio’s leadership style as a bonus for the town council environment — where collaboration and compromise are paramount.

“He’s able to be a leader without standing up and demanding that he lead,” the veteran town councilman said.

Sirchio is also a good fit with the sitting council members, King told the Times, emphasizing the importance of a group that gels.

“I got on the council in 2012, and I would say most of the time prior to that, this was a fractured council,” King said. “We’ve learned how to work together and we’ve become fast comrades.”

Council President Peter Helt — who did not endorse any of the three candidates, saying he looks forward to working with whoever residents elect — said that he wanted somebody that prioritizes town initiatives and works with council to achieve those priorities.

That notion doesn’t sit well with every town resident. Rick Blatchford, who’s lived in Mount Airy 14 years and volunteered on multiple commissions, told the Times he thinks the council is too cohesive.


Blatchford, who publicly endorsed Sirchio’s opponent and planning commission colleague Patty Washabaugh, said he thinks Sirchio would align with council views and not take an independent stance when necessary.

Sirchio, however, views his connection to the council and mayor as a benefit. The transition would be smooth because of it, he said.

“I know the mayor well. I know the council well. I know the town staff well,” the candidate said. “I already work well with them.”

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Besides, Sirchio added, he’s focused on serving the residents.

“I’m listening to them,” he said. “I’m going door to door asking them what they want because I’m trying to serve them, not me.”

The chemist is a forward thinker, though, and has a vision for Mount Airy. It involves responsible economic development, which will ensure a sustainable future, Sirchio said.

“You need to have a little bit of modern growth so that it can compare to our competing towns, like the Carroll Creek setting in Frederick or the Sykesville downtown where they’ve been bringing people in,” he said. “People feel like Mount Airy’s in competition with that. And when they compare us to those places, it screams that we need to do some kind of upgrade of our setting. They want that experience.”

But like most residents, and both his opponents, Sirchio said he adores the town’s charm and rich train history. Both must be maintained and highlighted, even with growth.

“I think Mount Airy is its own town and should have its own experience.”

Natural resources are paramount to achieving growth, responsible development and making that experience happen.

Infrastructure and “making sure water is not a constant inhibitor” are key, Sirchio said. “We have to make sure we have resources, sewer, water, whether it be natural gas downtown, but there’s a lot of things we need to put in place to firm up so that economic stability is ensured.”

Sirchio is adamant about Main Street upgrades. He wants Main Street to be more walk-able and pedestrian friendly. That’ll boost local business, he explained.

“Residents want to be in Mount Airy, they want to get out and experience it and sometimes don’t feel that there’s anything for them to go to downtown and walk around, get some exercise, enjoy a meal, grab a coffee and walk… there’s no reason to keep them down there,” he said. “That’s part of the economic development that I’m talking about. I want to make sure that there’s a reason for folks to come downtown, to stay downtown and spend money downtown.”

King said Sirchio aims to achieve upgrades by employing partnerships wherever possible, so as not to burden the taxpayer.

The taxpayers are the people Sirchio has expressed such a desire to serve. “I love the people of Mount Airy,” he said. “I want to make sure those people are protected … that Mount Airy stays the fantastic town that it is.”