CANDIDATE PROFILE: Wayne Dougherty
Two-term mayor seeks re-election
Wayne Dougherty won the four-man race for mayor in 2007 in what was a turning point election for the City of Havre de Grace.
Since then, he’s been at the helm as the city fights to work its way through a tough economic era. Keeping Havre de Grace in good economic standing has been paramount for Dougherty.
“I think we’ve got a handle on that. I think in these four years, we’ve clearly demonstrated we’re dealing with the economy,” he said. “You look at the other jurisdictions with the problems they’re going through. I feel comfortable. I think we have done a good job for the citizens. And, keep continue doing that.”
Dougherty and his wife ran a travel business based in Havre de Grace for 37 years. Today, he estimates he works approximately 70 hours a week as the city’s mayor.
“I personally can’t see in Havre de Grace right now, the position of mayor with somebody doing less than 50-60 hours a week. I do a lot more than that. But I can’t see any less time being involved. It’s everyday—especially with the economy right now. Many projects that we have going on right now. It’s a full-time job. You actually have to sit there [to understand]. I would invite anybody from the public to follow me through the day.”
Dougherty ran unopposed in the 2009 election after defeating Gary Wasielewski, John Correri and Fred Cullum in the 2007 election. Dougherty beat Wasielewski by 49 votes.
“I’ve been through enough elections that nothing surprises you,” he said. “Personally, I have a campaign that I’m running. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to devote to that campaign because I’m busy here. I’m doing the people’s work. I think that’s the most important thing to remember, I am doing the people’s work. I’m still out in the community, as I always am. I’ve ran campaigns differently before. I wasn’t in the position I am now. I think sometimes you have to be very cautious to separate the job you’re doing from the campaign. And I will not mix the two.”
Dougherty means that last point—refusing to type his statement in running for Mayor on City letterhead, instead typing and printing it from his home computer. He also won’t take calls regarding the election at City Hall, referring contacts to his cell phone.
He refuses to “sling any mud” in the election, and vows that if he does not win in a bid for a third term, he’ll continue to be active in the community.
Asked about his relationship with his challenger, Councilman Mitch Shank, Dougherty paused before saying: “There’s a political, and then there’s the other. Personally, the political is people do what they feel they have to do. People have a different opinion of how things should be done. I’m the type of person that I listen to what people are saying. I listen to other opinions. I’m more than willing to work on a consensus if there is a separation. So personally, I can only say I run the city I best I can. If I get suggestions from council members, I will work as close as I can with them. I think we’ve been successful with that.”
Dougherty has grown to appreciate the job of Mayor, and says its one that nobody can truly understand until they’ve done it.
“Its like any other job, when you’re on the outside and you’re looking in, you don’t realize it until you’re actually there, what exactly is really involved in the position,” he said. “What is really involved in what information can be released, especially when it’s a personnel issue or a legal issue regarding contracts. If its proposed legislations that are in draft forms. If something goes out of here in draft form, a lot of people take that as ‘Well, that’s what it is now,’ when it’s strictly a first draft. But being on the inside is a lot different than being on the outside and looking in.”