Clay Stamp was named new Talbot County manager on Thursday, Nov. 12, after current county manager Andy Hollis announced his retirement. Stamp will take the helm at the county officially on Jan. 1.

Hollis’ last day will be Dec. 31. He served 17 years as county manager.

Stamp currently serves as emergency services director and assistant county manager for Talbot County. He is a veteran in the field — including a long stint in Ocean City.

Stamp has been in the forefront along with County Health Officer Dr. Fredia Wadley during the coronavirus pandemic and all its impacts.

That experience will be valuable when Stamp becomes county manager. The county and the Eastern Shore are wrestling with plenty of uncertainty these days.

We have liked Stamp’s accessibility and his efforts to make sure the community knows what is going on with COVID-19 and all its impacts.

Other officials throughout the Shore should take a lesson on being accessible and responsive to information requests during the pandemic. We have seen too many instances of government agencies, school districts and their elected or appointed leaders not sharing information with concerned residents.

They unfortunately forget sometimes that they work for us — the taxpayers.

We are confident Stamp will set an example on this front for others in the county and across the Shore.

Communication is key as we navigate the rest of this year and 2021. There are plenty of drumbeats, concerns and fears over a resurgence of the virus, the aftermath of the election and a planned COVID-19 vaccine.

Crisis communications skills, leadership and being accessible and responsive to the public are essential.

Talbot County and other communities on the Shore are grappling with the economic, mental health, social and fiscal impacts of the virus and all the shutdowns.

We are confident Stamp and county leaders will keep level heads when it comes to the virus. We also hope they stay focused on helping small businesses, nonprofit groups and local restaurants hit hard by pandemic orders while also protecting public health.

The county’s economic and tourism development has helped 116 businesses across the county with $1.2 million in help via the federal CARES Act. That help can be essential to saving jobs, entrepreneurial dreams and tax revenue.

We need to see more support for local businesses coming from every level of government. Gov. Larry Hogan recently put another $250 million into the state’s assistance efforts for businesses hurting from the pandemic, including aid for poultry farmers, restaurants and the seafood industry.

We need to see more action out of Washington but we know that will likely not happen until after the election dust settles.

Talbot County Council President Corey Pack thanked Hollis for his tenure and years of public service and pointed to Stamp’s temperament and day-to-day experience and leadership skills.

We agree on all counts. We hope the county and its leadership continue to put a premium on being accessible and open with the public, as well as helping local businesses through these challenging times.

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