Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Major changes ahead in county government

The complexion of Worcester County’s Board of Commissioners shifted slightly with the Republican Party primary elections Tuesday, as the incumbents were returned to office and Eric Fiori held a 34-vote lead over Tim VanVonno in the race in District 3, or Sinepuxent District.

The county board of elections supervisors won’t declare any of these contests final until after it counts the mail-in and provisional ballots later this month, but Fiori looks to have enough of a cushion to eke out a victory should these absentee ballots lean in favor of VanVonno.

If that happens, Fiori’s replacement of the departing District 3 Commissioner Bud Church would bring a similar political approach to the board, with one major exception — he would vote no on the issue of a sports complex next to Stephen Decatur High School.

It remains to be seen whether any further action on that proposition takes place before December when the winners of this year’s election are sworn into office. But no matter who ascends to Church’s seat on the commissioners, that new member is not going to be a reliable part of Commissioner President Joe Mitrecic’s 4-3 majority.

With Snow Hill-area Commissioner Ted Elder’s 18-vote lead over former Commissioner Virgil Shockley likely to hold, and Commissioners Chip Bertino of Ocean Pines and Jim Bunting of Ocean Pines/Bishopville safely at the top of the ballot, the District 3 commissioner would be the swing vote in all sorts of issues.

But even that is a big assumption. Down south, in the Pocomoke district, Republican Caryn Abbott will be helped by heavy support from her party when she faces off against Democratic incumbent Josh Nordstrom, who has been friendly to northern Worcester on numerous occasions.

What all this means for Worcester residents is that the county government they have now probably isn’t going to be the government they get in December. And the sports complex? Even if it survives the referendum, the new county commissioners will see things differently.