Havre de Grace Mayor William T. Martin recently announced several changes to his administrative staff that will take effect next month as city officials prepare to oversee multiple projects that would be funded by the water and sewer bond and federal COVID relief.
The former senior commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground, now-retired Army Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor will serve as a temporary consultant to the mayor. Martin described Taylor as a “very good friend to the City of Havre de Grace” and noted he was a recipient of the key to the city.
Taylor, who led APG from 2017 to 2019 and retired last year after serving as chief of staff for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, Nebraska, will support the mayor’s administration starting in late June or early July.
He will come on board as Patrick Sypolt, the current director of administration, makes a lateral move into a new role as director of capital projects.
Sypolt will be tasked with “oversight of the expenditure” of an anticipated $11.7 million federal COVID relief funds, allocated as part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan adopted in March, as well as the remaining water and sewer bond money from a $15 million bond issue city voters approved in 2020, according to the mayor.
The city’s public works department has spent the past year planning and preparing multiple water and sewer improvements funded with the first installment of bond money received in the summer of 2020.
“We have a lot of stuff going on in the city — mega construction, mega improvements,” Martin said.
The focus on future capital projects is necessary as Havre de Grace will compete for contractors with other municipalities, counties and states that will have tens of millions or billions of federal dollars that must be spent within three years. The COVID relief funds must be used by December 2024.
“How do we execute this and execute the best way for the city of Havre de Grace, but also, how do we look for an edge in competition with everybody else?” the mayor asked.
Steve Gamatoria, the mayor’s current chief of staff and a former City Council member and council president, will succeed Sypolt as director of administration. Taylor will serve as a consultant, rather than hire a new employee to serve as chief of staff and add to the personnel head count.
“It’s just going to be a temporary assistance to this administration while we navigate these next three years, which are going to be huge,” Martin said.
Martin announced the moves at the May 3 city council meeting, about 24 hours before he was officially re-elected to a fourth term; he was running unopposed in the May 4 city election.
His previous terms since 2015 have all been two-year terms, but will start a three-year term this year, after city voters approved a charter amendment increasing the mayor’s term from two to three years during the 2020 election.
Salaries for Taylor, Sypolt and Gamatoria in their new roles have not been determined, according to an email from Adam Rybczynski, a spokesperson for the city.
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“The City is still in the process of negotiating the contracts,” which will run concurrent with the mayor’s next term, he said.