Bowie Mayor Tim Adams said he understands how to manage finances and people, even during a coronavirus pandemic.
He owns a multimillion-dollar company called Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. (SA-TECH) of Upper Marlboro with more than 600 employees and annual revenues of nearly $100 million to provide technology, engineering and other support services for the defense industry.
But Adams said stressing equity and inclusion, making ‘hard’ decisions … and remaining unapologetically Black” as a business owner count among the reasons he’s fit to become Maryland’s first Black comptroller. He made history in 2019 as the first Black mayor of the city which represents Prince George’s County’s largest municipality.
“The position of comptroller plays such a key role in the economics of the state of Maryland,” he said Tuesday, Oct. 5. “The comptroller is the key fiscal officer of the state. One of the main things we have to make sure of is having a state that is fiscally sound, but is also committed to equity and inclusion…”
Besides working as the state’s tax collector, the comptroller also serves alongside the governor and state treasurer on the Maryland Board of Public Works, which approves government contracts and other spending.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, who’s held the position since 2007, plans to run for governor in the June 28 primary election.
Del. Brooke Lierman (D-Baltimore City) represents the only Democratic challenger so far after she first announced her candidacy in December. Lierman, who has received endorsements from high-profile politicians such as Reps. Steny Hoyer and Jamie Raskin and state Sen. Joanne C. Benson (D-District 24) of Landover, would be the first woman to hold the position if elected.
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, a Republican, officially filed his paperwork in May with the state Board of Elections to seek the office and wants to be the first GOP member elected comptroller in 100 years.
As for Adams, part of his campaign platform includes making improvements to Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs and serving as an independent voice in Annapolis.
Read more about his plans below in words he shared with The Washington Informer.
Equity and Inclusion
“When we talk about equity and inclusion, we need to make sure we have a voice of someone who understands contracting. I started my business out of the trunk of my car. It’s now one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the nation. What I understood and learned through all that is it’s about fighting the system — one that doesn’t include us. We need to make sure our MBE programs have the support. Right now, the state of Maryland has way too many sole-source contracts and way too many retroactive contracts. [Contractors] come back and say, ‘We need waivers because we can’t find women- and minority- and small-owned businesses to support.’ I think that is because we don’t understand how to advocate for them and we don’t know how to hold these businesses accountable. The Board of Public Works will give us an opportunity, if we truly use it for what it’s supposed to be, to make sure we have the equity and inclusion. If agencies and others come before the Board of Public Works and they have not reached out and simply look for waivers, we simply have to say no. What we need to do is [decrease] the size of the contracts to make sure that they’re small enough that we do have [minority] businesses that have the capacity. But also do what I’ve been doing across the country and help assist folks with joint ventures where they have the capacity to go after larger contracts. When you talk about MBEs, that works back to all of our communities. As you help those businesses grow, you help create jobs in our communities.”
An Independent Voice
“Some people thought this was going to be a coronation and not a true election. I’m simply reaching out to the people. I am taking my campaign to the grassroots and talking to the people about what’s in their best interest. I hold nothing against people who hold their own political, personal or financial reasons or whatever — that’s their choice. But when it’s all said and done . . . my biggest endorsement comes from the people — those who are paying taxes every day and want someone who’s going to be transparent and can make sure their best interests are served. Remember when you look at the Board of Public Works, the governor who a lot of times is trying to answer to his party. Then you have the treasurer, who’s picked by the legislature. The comptroller is usually that swing vote in between who decides what’s best for the people. What we want is someone who is going to be independent to really make decisions that are based upon what’s best for the citizens for the state of Maryland, not based upon political allegiance to someone else. That’s what we need. Many people want someone who has that business acumen who understands how to really balance a budget and who can look at contracts as I’ve done for decades.”