Dawn Gough Myers

Dawn Gough Myers
  • Democrat
  • Age: 47
  • Residence: Annapolis

About Dawn Gough Myers

Education

Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park, Juris Doctor (cum laude), Tulane University, Master of Business Administration, Tulane University.

Background

I worked for the State of Maryland as a budget and finance expert for almost 20 years. I began as a bill drafter and budget analyst for the Maryland General Assembly. From there, I became the Budget Director for the Department of Natural Resources, at the time a $500 million agency, and now I am the Director of Business and Finance for the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, College Park. Over the course of my career as a public servant, I’ve drafted legislation, studied and implemented environmental, fiscal, education and smart growth policy, and ran complex government programs.

Questionnaire

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1
Development
Should the county develop small area plans as part of the upcoming General Development Plan and Comprehensive rezoning process?
Myers: Yes. Zoning affects the quality of life for citizens of Anne Arundel County. Small area plans allow neighbors of a small, contiguous, discrete area to interact directly with County planners on issues important to the area and what is needed to maintain or strengthen the member communities. For instance, the Broadneck Small Area plan spends a significant amount of time discussing Route 50 and Bay Bridge traffic concerns. If county employees do not live on the Broadneck Peninsula, and have no reason to travel there to regularly engage citizens, they could not adequately understand the enormity of the issue without regular first-hand accounts. Citizen participation in decisions that affect how and where the county grows and develops should be encouraged. The County should develop a meaningful and impactful Small Area Planning process.
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2
Teachers
The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County continues to advocate for a return of step increases given up during the 2008 recession. Should the County Council fund these increases?
Myers: Absolutely yes. With our current inadequate teacher salary scale and appalling history of not restoring step increases to teachers who went without during the recession, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) is not a competitive employer for teachers in this state. Our County teachers currently suffer the indignity of working for an employer that pays new teachers with the exact same level of experience more money because they were not here to miss steps during the recession. Frankly, this situation is unconscionable. Teachers are a cornerstone of our democracy- they help us have a well-educated citizenry who will vote and participate in our society. Teachers who stayed through the recession are owed an apology and restoration of their steps. The County’s school performance has precipitously declined since teachers have lost their steps. AACPS for the first time has no nationally ranked schools. We are ranked as low as 12th in the State for education, despite being one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the State. The New York Times cited Stanford University researchers when it stated “In Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, third graders test above the national average. But growth there [between third and eighth grade] lags behind Chicago [Public Schools], where the poverty rate is about five times higher.” AACPS students between 3rd and 8th grade do not progress as much as students in Chicago Schools. If we want great schools in Anne Arundel County, we need to value teachers and pay them a competitive wage.
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3
Taxes
Do you support maximizing revenue under the county tax cap, or seeking additional revenues to support increased spending on education, public safety or other initiatives?
Myers: For 20 years, I have worked for the State of Maryland optimizing billions of dollars’ worth of government expenditures. I would be remiss in making such a declaration without first examining the County budget in depth. Just from the publicly available budget and financial documents, I have learned that the school system ended the fiscal year on June 30, 2017, with a rather sizable surplus. Also, from 2015-2018, administrative expenses for County Schools increased 35% and the County spends proportionately more on administration than our more successful peers. For instance, in real dollar terms, the County schools spend approximately $11 million more on administration than Montgomery County. So, there may be opportunities for efficiencies that would transfer spending from administration to more mission critical items in the School budget. Additionally, the County has previously turned down federal grant money that would have hired 52 new and desperately needed firefighters. As such, I am not supportive of seeking additional revenues from taxpayers when there may be clear and obtainable opportunities for budget optimization available.
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