BERLIN – Thom Gulyas became the fourth generation of his family to make a bid for public office when he filed to run for a Berlin Town Council seat recently.
“Gulyas” is already a well-known name in Worcester County politics, with Thom’s mother, Louise, holding Ocean City’s County Commissioner seat for the last decade.
Louise Gulyas’ grandfather was mayor of Ocean City and her father was a councilman in Pennsylvania, she said this week.
“Thom’s been very interested in politics forever and I think it’s a good thing,” Louise Gulyas said. “He’s ready to give back.”
Gulyas said this week he was inspired to run for the District II council seat both by family tradition and a desire to serve Berlin. While he is a relatively new resident of the town, he has run his business, Ace Printing and Mailing, in Berlin for 24 years, 23 of those years on Main St.
“We need some new ideas, some new blood, and we need some new input for the town of Berlin,” Gulyas said. “Everybody should be service minded in their life. It’s time to step up.”
The ongoing wastewater saga and the extremely high electric bills show inaction by the sitting elected officials, Gulyas said.
“No one wants to help. No one wants to do anything,” Gulyas said of the electric costs.
The town council also needs to be planning for three to five years in the future, he said.
Berlin needs to be run more like a business, he felt, with elected officials and staff held accountable.
While he understands that government moves slower than a private business, it should still move, Gulyas said, and decisions should be made instead of tabling major issues to wait on reports from consultants and lawyers.
“I’m sick of it. The average person doesn’t have the endless stream of money to question everything they do,” he said.
Residents need to demand more of their elected officials, Gulyas felt. They should be more accountable for money spent and make that kind of information easily accessible to the public.
“Pack that chamber with the town residents and make sure the Mayor and Council know what’s important to these folks,” Gulyas said. “People need to start showing up. They need to start stepping up and saying, ‘what the hell is going on?’”
Townspeople need more information, Gulyas felt, adding that he intends to print and mail out his own newsletter if elected.
“If I have to pay for that myself, alright,” Gulyas said. “People have a right to know.”
Gulyas, known for being an outspoken critic of the Mayor and Council in recent years, said he would represent everyone in his district and the town as a whole.
“It’s not about just myself. It’s about everyone that lives here,” Gulyas said. “What can I do to help all of us?”
So far, Gulyas is running unopposed.
Council member Ellen Lang will not run for re-election this year after serving two terms on the council. She plans to retire from her day job next year, she said.
“I think that any government organization or committee can use fresh ideas and new people,” Lang said. “It’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes looking at something.”
New council members should look at both sides of the issues and consider the good and bad points, Lang advised. Politicians in Berlin also need a tough skin, she said.
Gulyas does not have to look far for another advice.
“Listen. Pay attention,” Louise Gulyas advised. “Just be honest. Be yourself.”