Councilman Ernie Davis seeking Wicomico County Executive's seat

By Greg Bassett
Posted 11/17/21

Having served seven years on the County Council, Ernie Davis is ready for a new challenge -- County Executive.

The 57-year-old Salisbury small business owner announced Wednesday he will run as a …

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Councilman Ernie Davis seeking Wicomico County Executive's seat

Wicomico County Councilman Ernie Davis, with his wife, Melissa, announces Wednednesday that he will seek the County Executive's seat.
Wicomico County Councilman Ernie Davis, with his wife, Melissa, announces Wednednesday that he will seek the County Executive's seat.
Salisbury Independent Photo
Posted

Having served seven years on the County Council, Ernie Davis is ready for a new challenge -- County Executive.

The 57-year-old Salisbury small business owner announced Wednesday he will run as a Democrat to the county’s top governmental post.

In an address to friends and supporters on the steps of the Government Office Building in Downtown Salisbury, Davis said his focus will be to “jumpstart” the county.

“I’ve been on the council for seven years, and for the last several years the county has been stagnant,” Davis said. “We haven’t grown much in the last seven years.We’re going to jumpstart Wicomico.”

Davis said county staffing problems have affected operations, salaries for county employees are too low and vacant positions within government have gone unfilled.

“How can we invite businesses to come here to Wicomico County, promote and bring in high-dollar jobs, when we we look at our own county government operating at half-staff?” Davis asked.

“In the past several years we’ve lost over 30-some employees to neighboring counties -- because of salaries,” Davis said. “We haven’t given them the pay they deserve.”

The county is in the midst of a salary review study that was triggered by the state’s 2020 minimum wage increase plan.

“The main sticking point I will be pushing is county employee pay raises,” Davis said. “We’re short on manpower at the jail and the roads (department). I will bring those (departments) up to staff so we can operate as a full county.”

Pay grades have been elevated at the Detention Center in recent years, but recruiting has remained a challenge. County roads supervisors have continually bemoaned a lack of hireable candidates.

Davis also called for higher salaries for the county’s public school teachers.

A North West Road resident in west Salisbury, Davis touted the county’s recently unveiled sewer study, designed to provide water treatment services to portions of the city where septic tanks are failing or development is curtailed.

“We finally have a plan and we need to push it,” he said. “We need to create a department head to do this.”

Davis added that he is committed to improving broadband Internet services across Wicomico. “Our school system is suffering because we don’t have any broadband,” he said. “We’re dragging our feet.”

First elected in 2014, Davis represents majority-minority District 1 on the County Council and is the only African American member of the seven-person panel. He is the first Democrat to announce thus far. He is the founder and owner of Mid Atlantic Power Wash.

Acting County Executive John Psota of Salisbury has announced he will seek to keep the post on a full-time basis and has officially filed as a Republican. GOP Central Committee member and public school teacher Julie Giordano of Hebron has filed to run and will make an announcement Dec. 4.

The Republican and Democratic primaries will be held in June. Democrats hold a slight registration lead in the county. Of the two elected executives in the county’s history, one was a Democrat and one was Republican. The job currently pays $85,000 a year.

“We have to get this county on track and get it going,” Davis said.