ST. MARY’S BUDGET – Board of St. Mary’s Commissioners Spending $41 Million on White Elephant Replacement Sheriff Headquarters; Never Included Public in Planning

        Needing to Know When to Say No



News Analysis

The St. Mary’s County Commissioners embarked upon building a grand new St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Headquarters in 2019. They did so due to the recommendation of a group of county employees led around by the nose by St. Mary’s Sheriff Tim Cameron. There were no citizens included on this panel who recommended a 13-acre campus with a building that is going to cost over $41 million.

When several of the commissioners were asked by THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY during the 2022 election campaign why they would support such a proposal without any citizen involvement in a Space Needs Study as the county had formed to develop building plans in the past, the commissioners looked stunned as if such an idea was akin to driving their new pickup into Breton Bay at Leonardtown Wharf.

Did the commissioner board, at that time, composed of John O’Connor, Todd Morgan, Randy Guy, Eric Colvin, and Mike Hewitt, consider the taxpayers’ ability to fund the proposal? Nope. There was no citizen involvement. Just design it to the satisfaction of sheriff lackeys, build it, and hand the bill to the taxpayers after floating bonds for loans.

In 2020, Communist China foisted the Wuhan Pandemic upon the world, and America’s spendthrift grifters in Congress began printing money and passing it out to states and counties across the nation in wheelbarrow loads. Federal money came in daily, and the politicians, engulfed in the 2022 election cycle, did what politicians always do: look for access to gain votes any way they can. That endeavor always includes finding ways to appease groups larger than a sewing circle. Even a new animal shelter was built.

The capital budget was approved during each fiscal year, and the fiscal year spending for the new Sheriff Palace over the next five years is posted below.

Without any taxpayer citizens on a Space Needs Study to ask why in the world a new gigantic building should be built to house deputies when crimes are taking place in neighborhoods, commercial areas, and near parks and schools, the illogical pursuit of a new building continued. 

One of the rationales for the explosion of square footage for cops is the need for evidence storage. The St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Department presided over the search warrant raid of an alleged drug dealer’s property in 2001 and seized a tractor-trailer load of building materials. Shortly afterward, various deputies spirited away doors, lumber, and windows, and Assistant Sheriff Steve Doolan passed out some of the material to a buddy and his stepson. 

The State Prosecutor investigator conducted an investigation and gave his report to Sheriff David Zylak and State’s Attorney Richard Fritz. Doolan nor any of the other thieving deputies were ever charged, though some of the building materials showed up again from whence they were taken. The property was stored in a fenced lot and shed behind the old Leonardtown Library.

Even a shiny new building to store evidence will not help keep it secure if the property’s caretakers are stealing it.

When politicians are hellbent on a plan, don’t expect them to back up and pull the plug on it. Nosiree. They will and are going full speed ahead and, in the process, will raise your taxes once again, just like last year. After all, they must balance the budget and blame the State of Maryland for not providing more funds for schools.

This same Board of Commissioners has failed to provide metal detectors at the front door of Great Mills High School, where a kid took a gun to school and murdered a girl who ended their relationship. That was in 2018. Instead of making schools safe, the commissioners blew ten million dollars on paving sports fields with artificial turf. In January, another gun was whisked into Great Mills High School, and excellent video footage of four buffoons playing with the gun in the school was captured on security cameras.

Still, there are no plans to install metal detectors to keep guns out of Great Mills High School. But there are plans to make the new Keystone Cops Palace a fortress.

1988: New St. Mary’s Sheriff headquarters opens in the county building next to the Circuit Courthouse

Ribbon cutting of new St. Mary’s Sheriff’s headquarters in 1988 with Del. Ernie Bell (D.), Clerk of the Circuit Court Mary Bell (D.), Del. John Wood (D.), Commissioner President Buddy Loffler (R.) cutting ribbon, Sheriff Wayne Lee Pettit (D.), Leonardtown Council Member Becky Profit, Commissioner Eddie Bailey (D.), Commissioner John Lancaster (D.), Commissioner Rodney Thompson (R.). THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo
Birds Eye View of the St Mary’s County Sheriff Headquarters. Deputies as desk jockeys. 2005

1997: New temporary quarters were built for the Circuit Court, turned over to Sheriff Headquarters when the court moved to the renovated Circuit Courthouse

St. Mary’s County Commissioner John O’Connor in front of the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Headquarters in 2022. The Sheriff’s headquarters in the building, soon to be abandoned, occupied space was built as a new temporary site for the Circuit Court in 1997. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo


CLOSED FOR THE WEEKEND? St. Mary’s County Commissioner John O’Connor failed to get an answer at 5:00 on a Friday in April of 2022 at the front door of Sheriff station in Lexington Park

2021: St. Mary’s County pays over the appraised value for an empty office building to house a phantom crew of flatfoots

Named as St. Mary’s Sheriff District 3 Station, this building is not open to the public but houses detectives. Most days, there are no vehicles parked outside of the building.

2019: A Master Planning Study, conducted without any citizen input and staffed exclusively by county bureaucrats, decided that a new Sheriff Palace was needed. Then, Covid hit the next year, and the Bozo Commissioners failed to stop the plan in its tracks. This is what happens when politicians run amok, spending other people’s money.


BOONDOGGLE – Just like the St. Mary’s Airport Passenger Terminal that has never had a paying customer on a scheduled flight, the Boneheaded St. Mary’s Commissioners are funding a $41 million replacement Sheriff’s Headquarters on a 13-acre campus with secure parking (to keep miscreants from stealing police cars) with plenty of room to park unused police cruisers left behind when new deputies find out what a worthless bunch of Good Old Boys the Sheriff’s honchos are and quit, going to other agencies, after the St. Mary’s County taxpayers fund the $150,000 each it took to hire, equip and train them.



Cops as desk jockeys instead of nabbing traffic scofflaws, preventing armed robberies, and nailing drug dealers.


Retired deputy Mike Merican, assistant sheriff under Tim Cameron, who lied at the police trial board about bar fracas, was paid over $50,000 in FY 2023 by Convict Sheriff Steve Hall to oversee the building plans.

Kelly Lowther, Casey Long, and Major Mike Merican in the Clarion bar at Ocean City at the Correctional Officers Convention

St. Mary’s County debt has exploded under the current Board of Commissioners, all Republican but spend money like liberal Democrats

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