Retirement leads to primary race for Washington County Treasurer

·3 min read

With Washington County's longtime treasurer retiring, two Republicans have stepped forward to run for the job.

Todd Hershey is not seeking reelection after first taking office in 1987. Robert M. Breeding and Mam Malick Thiam are on the primary ballot to be the county's tax collector.

Whomever wins the contest will likely be the next county treasurer, barring a successful write-in campaign, because there are no Democrats running in the primary. The election is July 19, but early voting runs from July 7 through July 14.

The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown sent questionnaires to Breeding and Thiam. Included were basic biographical questions, as well as opportunities to list websites and social media accounts so voters can learn beyond just answers to the questions we asked. Responses were limited to 500 characters — the equivalent of more than two tweets.

The questionnaire was sent in early June.

Republicans

Robert M. Breeding

Home: Hagerstown

Occupation: Retired

Age as of July 19: 63

Mam Malick Thiam

Home: Hagerstown

Occupation: Residential manager

Age as of July 19: 72

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mammalick.thiam

Detail your experience

What makes you the best candidate for Washington County treasurer?

Breeding

Having extensive experience in Federal upper level Command and Management and having experiences with budgets in excess of 75 million dollars I am well suited to serve as your next Treasurer. Having experience in managing over 200 employees across a four state region I am well qualified to manage a small office. I have the appropriate experiences necessary and have a broad knowledge of government technology information management and processing systems.

Thiam

I have a bachelor’s degree in Law and Ethic from University Poly technic Gamal Abdel Nasar Guinea West Africa. I have a master’s from CUL Belgium in Political Science and Management and a professional computer accounting program from Ashworth University in Atlanta, GA. I received my MBA from Strayer University. I was employed with Halco subsidiary of ALCOA in Guinea as Superintendent for 25 years. I oversaw 4K employees where my primary duties included managing HR, Finance, and Logistics.

What's wrong, and how will you fix it?

What is the top issue facing the treasurer's office, and what are your plans to address it?

Breeding

One common complaint I've heard is the inability for Washington County property owners to pay their taxes online. Most Maryland Counties have a portal for online payments. I would like to modernize the office to allow online payments as well as allow residents to obtain their Maryland vehicle registration renewals through the County Treasurer's Office. Many other counties allow this already. I intend to continue the otherwise already efficient business practices of the County Treasurer.

Thiam

Collection of taxes is a top issue. It's imperative to follow the guidance of the tax code and adhere to all laws regarding taxes. It's also important to have a collaborative relationship with the County Commissioners and a good relationship with the taxpayers in the county.

Letting the public know what's going on

What steps would you take to increase transparency in the treasurer's office?

Breeding

I would and will always cooperate with any annual, required or specially requested audit by any agency having the authority to conduct one. I will ensure that all employees are properly trained and comply with all duly authorized releases for public information. Matters that are not otherwise prohibited for public release shall be available upon legal and proper request.

Thiam

The first thing is to assess what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the office of the treasurer. Develop training that will help staff have a better work ethic and better collaboration with the taxpayer. Taxpayers must have easy access to the treasurer’s office for any information they request.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Mail: Two Republicans seeking to be next Washington County treasurer