Pasadena engineer Fernando Berra runs for Anne Arundel County executive

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

After nearly 30 years of working as an engineer with the U.S. Department of Defense and other government agencies, Fernando Berra is shifting his focus to his Anne Arundel County community.

Berra has filed to run for county executive as a Republican, joining an already crowded field of GOP candidates including former County Council member John Grasso, current County Council member Jessica Haire, corporate recruiter Chris Jahn and former state Del. Herb McMillan. Incumbent Democrat Steuart Pittman is seeking a second term. The primary election is June 28.


For the past few decades, Berra has worked with radar and laser systems to help bolster national security. His work includes making weaponry less radar-detectable to enemies and helping troops to avoid dangerous areas in battle by using laser systems to detect explosive devices on the ground.

Berra, a 19-year resident of the county who lives in Pasadena, said his experience as an engineer equips him well for the critical thinking and problem solving challenges the county executive faces.


“I am very driven and innovative,” Berra said. “I am a critical thinker preferring to use an ‘outside of the box’ approach when searching for solutions to complex problems — whether technical or programmatic. In my field, problems are opportunities waiting for the right solution.”

Berra said one of the first things on his agenda as county executive would be firing all top-tier county employees. He said he thinks some of those employees remain in those positions regardless of performance or qualifications.

“Many of those individuals have been promoted to the positions they currently hold because of their years of service — not because they are qualified for the job. They are waiting to complete the mandatory 30 years of service to retire and draw a pension from the county,” Berra said.

Berra did not give specific examples of county employees who are not measuring up.

“I will rehire some of these individuals based on merit — not seniority. And I will implement hiring and training [of] many young, graduate students to bring new and innovative ideas to the county.”

A notable exception to this plan, Berra said, would be public safety workers including police officers, first responders and fire personnel as they work so closely with the residents.

Also on Berra’s agenda: working on changing county conservation laws to be less restrictive over what residents can do with their properties.

“Conservation laws and codes are very important for the environment, and they are great — except when they violate citizen’s property rights,” Berra said.


Maryland Policy & Politics


Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

He described some of these laws as an overreach of government authority, especially when they block residents who live on shoreline or near bogs or forests from building out because they live on these natural environmental phenomena.

“Maryland and Anne Arundel County government cannot have it both ways. Either they collect property taxes on the entire property and they reduce the restrictions on it or vice versa; it is one or the other,” Berra said. “And, the property owner should have a voice as to whether he wants to maintain a conservation easement or not on his property.”

Berra said he also views mask and vaccine mandates as examples of government overreach, ones he would remedy if elected.

“To me, it is personal choice whether you want to be vaccinated — based on your unique personal and your unique family circumstances. Simply put, one solution does not fit all,” Berra said. “If these vaccination mandates continue, my administration will respect the religious exceptions as well as medical exceptions.”

Berra said he is committed to working with residents and finding solutions that work for all in the county.

“Your political party affiliation does not matter to me. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or Independent, as county executive I will work with all to find common ground for the benefit of Anne Arundel County,” he said.

For the record

An earlier version of this article should have said that the “Greenways Master Plan,” now named the “Green Infrastructure Master Plan,” provides suggestions for development, not restrictions. The Capital Gazette regrets the error.