Susan Burdette

Susan Burdette
  • Republican
  • Age: 65
  • Residence: Bel Air

About Susan Burdette

Education

BA Towson University Harford Leadership Academy Graduate Fellow, Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Univ. of MD College Park School of Public Policy

Background

Harford County Public Library 35 years Librarian, Marketing, Programming and Community Relations Town Commissioner 4 years Mayor and Chair of the Board, Town of Bel Air, 3 years President Cecil-Harford Chapter Maryland Municipal League Advisory Board Member Non-Partisan MD Chapter of Smart Growth America Local Leaders Council Member and Chair Harford County Council Citizens Budget Advisory Board

Questionnaire

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1
Glassman record
What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Glassman administration?
Burdette: County Executive Glassman has emphasized fiscal responsibility and balance while stressing good customer service and innovation. He has successfully restored the fund balance and achieved triple-A Bond rating for the County. Harford has a large population of seniors (Bel Air was named the best place to retire in Maryland) and the county administration adopted a tax credit for seniors and retired military. The County has also implemented new apps and modernized permitting for citizens. As Mayor of Bel Air, I know that the citizens of the Town and County have benefitted from strong new partnerships including recent construction of a water impoundment and connecting the Ma & Pa Trail. The Town, County and State Highway Administration continue to work together to address issues related to traffic congestion and pedestrian safety.
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2
Taxes
Does Harford County have adequate resources to meet its needs, particularly in the funding of public schools and law enforcement?
Burdette: Harford should have adequate resources to meet the needs of our evolving county. Public education is a priority because our children are our future. In the past three years, we have increased funding by $15 million for schools. School safety and teacher retention are two of my priorities. The State’s Kirwan Commission recently concluded that there must be changes in how teachers are recruited, paid and deployed. Current salaries and working conditions are having a negative impact on recruitment and retention. Regarding school safety, cooperation among State, County and the three Towns in Harford has already begun with the promise to hire more SROs.
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3
Land use
Have the county’s land use policies adequately balanced growth and the preservation of existing communities and agricultural land?
Burdette: Harford County is strong in its land use policies. We strive for an orderly development of land and in an environmentally sound manner. I have participated in creating and implementing the Town of Bel Air’s Sustainability Plan since 2013. It has guided Town efforts regarding energy, water, air quality, economic development, and health, cultural and historic resources. We work closely with the Department of Natural Resources Forest Service through our Tree Committee. On a countywide scale, HarfordNEXT vision is a good example of government transparency and citizen involvement with land use policies. Two strategies highlighting land use are ‘innovative development emphasizing sustainability’ and ‘Green Infrastructure Planning’.
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4
Opioids
How do you rate the county’s efforts to fight opioid addiction overdoses? What else, if anything, should the county be doing to combat the epidemic?
Burdette: The County has dedicated resources in addressing this opioid epidemic but this is a national crisis and will not be conquered quickly. Partnerships have been successful in bringing leaders from Aberdeen Proving Ground, state and local government, business and non-profits together to address these problems. I have attended several summits and had the opportunity to speak with mayors from all 156 Towns and Cities in Maryland to discuss what is working and what is not working. Our Town Police Department is taking a proactive measure to support recovery after they encounter an overdose victim. We are partnering with community agencies to form a team. After following routine overdose protocol, a responding BAPD officer will be able to connect the individual with intervention services and a team with a recovery coach. This team will also link families and significant others to support services. The County Administration plans to open our first 24-Hour Crisis Center to provide access to those in need of crisis treatment and care. To recoup the financial costs for these projects, we will be joining other Towns and Counties in suing the opioid manufacturers and distributors.
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5
Sherrif's office
How would you characterize the relationship between the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the communities it serves? Are any reforms necessary?
Burdette: The role of law enforcement has dramatically expanded in our society. Terrorism, mass shootings and cybercrime have required the Sheriff’s Office to take on more responsibility. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office provides prompt and professional service to our residents. The Sheriff’s Office has precincts where the officers are a significant part of the community. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office sponsors neighborhood watch programs, a Citizens Police Academy, an Explorer Post and Summer Youth Camps in an effort to involve the community
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6
Fire/EMS
The Glassman administration is trying to lead Harford County’s formerly all-volunteer fire and emergency medical services to more a professional organization with more paid personnel. How do you rate the county’s effort and what should have or could have done differently in this controversial transformation?
Burdette: We love our 12 volunteer fire companies in Harford County and the long history of men and women who fought fires and saved lives. Harford County has grown in population while fire companies are struggling to recruit and train members. Executive Glassman has proposed a phased-in transition to develop Harford County Emergency Medical Services to supplement the medical services provided by our volunteer fire companies. We need to respect the existing volunteers and their long time service to our communities but look at paid EMS in order to provide additional medical services to our growing county. Statistics show that the baby boom generation is aging and the number of empty-nester households is expected to double between 2000 and 2020. Retirement communities, assisted living facilities and long-term care units are increasing in Harford County. The need for EMS will naturally increase as the population ages and needs more help and new families move in and will need services.
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