St. Mary’s County government is headed by five elected county commissioners, one of six counties in Maryland still using the commissioner form of government. Voters in November 2016 chose by a 60 percent margin to keep the commissioner form of government rather than changing to code home rule.
While each of the five commissioners represent St. Mary’s, four represent specific areas of the county and one serves as president. There is a county administrator, directors of departments and approximately 700 employees.
There is no local election scheduled for 2017. The next state primary election is scheduled for June 2018.
Democrats had long dominated local politics during the 20th century, but Republicans tipped the scales in 2012 after decades of growth. There are now 29,482 total registered Republicans (42 percent), 25,953 Democrats (37 percent) and 13,907 unaffiliated voters (20 percent), according to the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections.
The commissioners’ duties range from setting tax rates, maintaining and building county roads, designating areas of growth or preservation, to determining how local funds are spent on such projects as the Three Notch Trail, FDR Boulevard or a new or renovated jail or library.
The county commissioners can recommend new laws but cannot pass them — this can only be done by the Maryland General Assembly.
The county governmental center is located off Leonard Hall Drive, off Route 245 in Leonardtown. The county commissioners’ offices are located in the Chesapeake Building, along with county finance and the legal department. Inside the Potomac Building are the human services and aging department, human resources and the department of economic and community development.
At the Patuxent Building is the county treasurer, department of recreation and parks, the department of land use and growth management and the sheriffs office. The Joseph D. Carter State Office Building houses the district court. The St. Mary’s County Detention Center, or county jail, is located at 41880 Baldridge St., behind the Carter building.
The following is an overview of the officials now holding the top positions.
St. Mary’s commissioners
Main line, 301-475-4200, ext. *1300.
Randy Guy (R), president;
Tom Jarboe (R), Dist. 1 (southern part of county);
Mike Hewitt (R), Dist. 2 (Leonardtown/Hollywood);
John O’Connor (R), Dist. 3 (northern part of county);
Todd Morgan (R), Dist. 4 (Lexington Park, Great Mills, California)
Judge Karen H. Abrams
301-475-7844, ext. 4130
Judge Michael Stamm
301-475-7844, ext. 4140
Judge David Densford
301-475-7844, ext. 4151
Master F. Michael Harris
301-475-7844, ext. 4120
St. Mary’s County Courthouse is at 41605 Courthouse Drive, P.O. Box 859, Leonardtown, MD 20650.
Clerk of the Circuit Court is Joanie Williams at the St. Mary’s County Courthouse, P.O. Box 676, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-7844, ext. 1.
Judge Christy Holt Chesser is at the Carter State Office Building, 23110 Leonard Hall Drive, P.O. Box 653, Leonardtown, MD 20650. Call 301-880-2700.
Richard Fritz (R) is at the St. Mary’s County Courthouse, 41605 Courthouse Drive, P.O. Box 1755, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-7844, ext. 4500. District Court Office, call 301-475-4200, ext. 4800; Child Support Division, call 301-475-7844, ext. 4600.
Tim Cameron (R) can be reached at P.O. Box 1559, 23150 Leonard Hall Drive, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-4200, ext. *1911. Also visit www.firstsheriff.com.
Christy Kelly is at the Patuxent Building, 23150 Leonard Hall Drive, P.O. Box 642, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-4200, ext. *3300.
Board of education
Superintendent Scott Smith
301-475-5511, ext. 32178
School board main line, 301-475-5511, ext. 32177.
Karin Bailey, chair and District 3 representative;
Mary Washington, vice chair and District 4 representative;
Cathy Allen, at-large representative;
Jim Davis, District 2 representative;
Rita Weaver, District 1 representative;
Roma Kankaria, student member
Register of wills
Lois Duke is at the St. Mary’s County Circuit Courthouse, 41605 Courthouse Drive, P.O. Box 602, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-5566.
Leonardtown is St. Mary’s County’s only municipality and is the oldest incorporated town in Maryland, incorporated in 1858. Leonardtown is governed by a mayor and five-member town council. The town council meets the second Monday of each month at 4 p.m. at the town hall.
Leonardtown also has a business association, which meets the second Wednesday of each month at alternating business locations, starting at 8:15 a.m.
Contact the commissioners of Leonardtown at 22670 Washington Street, P.O. Box 1, Leonardtown, MD 20650; call 301-475-9791.
The Leonardtown council is made up of Mayor Daniel W. Burris; and council members Leslie E. Roberts, Tom Combs, Roger L. Mattingly, Hayden Hammett and Jay Mattingly.
Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert)
2W Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3673, 301-858-3673 toll-free in Maryland at 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3673
Waugh represents all of St. Mary’s County and Calvert County south of Prince Frederick. He won the election in 2014 over longtime incumbent Roy Dyson, who was first elected to the Maryland State Senate in 1994.
Del. Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert)
303 House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3314, 301-858-3314, toll-free in Maryland at 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3314
Clark was chosen by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in October to replace former delegate Tony O’Donnell, who was selected last summer to join the Maryland Public Service Commission. Clark, a former Calvert County commissioner of 12 years, was selected to fill out the term that is up for election again in 2018. He represents central St. Mary’s and southern Calvert.
Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s)
323 House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3227, 301-858-3227, toll-free in Maryland at 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3227
Rey won election in 2014 over incumbent John Bohanan, who was first appointed as delegate in 1999. Rey’s district covers southern St. Mary’s County — Ridge, Park Hall, Valley Lee, Piney Point, St. George Island, Lexington Park, Great Mills and portions of California.
Del. Matt Morgan (R-St. Mary’s)
317 House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3170, 301-858-3170, toll-free in Maryland at 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3170
Matt Morgan won the 2014 election after Del. John F. Wood retired following 28 years on the job. Morgan’s district covers northern St. Mary’s County — Mechanicsville, Charlotte Hall, Chaptico, Avenue, Sandgates, Compton and Leonardtown.
Representative in Congress
St. Mary’s County’s congressman is Steny Hoyer, a 5th-district Democrat who lives in Mechanicsville. Serving in his 19th term now, he is also the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.
Hoyer was elected as House majority leader in November 2006 by his peers and served from 2007 to 2011. He is currently House Democratic whip.
Correspondence to Hoyer can be mailed to 1705 Longworth House Office Building, Washington DC 20515. The telephone number is 202-225-4131. His website is www.hoyer.house.gov.
Maryland’s senators are Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, both Democrats. Van Hollen won election for the seat vacated by Barbara Mikulski, who retired last year after she was first elected to the Senate in 1986.
509 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Southern Maryland regional office:
10201 Martin Luther King Jr. Highway, Suite 210, Bowie, MD 20720
Chris Van Hollen
B40C Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510