Albero Joins Incumbent Ireton in Race for Salisbury Mayor - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Albero Joins Incumbent Ireton in Race for Salisbury Mayor

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From left are Joe Albero and current Mayor Jim Ireton From left are Joe Albero and current Mayor Jim Ireton

SALISBURY, Md.- Two candidates have now tossed their hats into the ring for the position of mayor of Salisbury. While there is still a week left until the filing deadline, the race is heating up fast. Current Mayor Jim Ireton filed for re-election last Friday. Tuesday, Joe Albero, who runs the Salisbury News website, officially filed as well.

"I have been waiting for this day for a very long time," noted Albero, while filing his paperwork inside the city clerk's office Monday, before announcing his run to the public in a press conference.

"I've followed local politics for eight years now in Salisbury," Albero told WBOC. "So, the idea was, rather than sitting around criticizing it all the time, with my past business experience, why not step up to the plate and run and make the changes that I feel will better Salisbury."

Albero chose D. W. Burt Concrete Construction Co. as the site for the announcement of his candidacy, calling it "but one example of the current administration's hostility towards business in Salisbury."

"Danny Burt wanted to expand his business," Albero explained. "The Ireton administration has put up one road block after another, because the Ireton administration views business as a source of taxes and fees rather than a partner in the revitalization of Salisbury."

Incumbent Mayor Ireton said he welcomes the challenge, but has serious doubts about his opponent.

"What we have today is a Delaware blogger who has a gossip column, who got a driver's license that says he lives in Salisbury," he remarked. "Not a problem. I welcome it. I welcome the idea to have this discussion about where Salisbury is going and where we've come from and I'm proud of the record that I have."

Albero is quick to defend his Salisbury residency, telling WBOC he has lived full-time in his downtown apartment for nearly ten months. The requirement is one year by election day, which is April 2.

"This is not a show," Albero said. "This is a real, serious situation that I'm doing here and it's unfortunate that rather than staying on topic, that people might get distracted and challenge toward, is he really eligible."

According to Ireton, Albero does not have what it takes to lead the city.

"I don't think Mr. Albero knows anything about our neighborhoods," he said. "I don't think he knows anything about the relationships that we've built with the hospital, with SU, with Wor-Wic."

"I don't think he knows anything about Safe Streets legislation and the Safe Streets Coalition," Ireton added. "I don't think he knows anything about what it means to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous levels in our river, and I don't think he knows anything about building the partnerships that brought down the Thrift Travel Inn and Linens of the Week."

Albero addressed criticism that he is a divisive figure.

"A lot of times, people think that because they're reading comments on a website. They're not following, necessarily, my opinions," he explained. "It's more or less other things and other stories that we publish, and then there could be some controversy involved in that. Those are not my views, those are the views coming to the website. So, I would disagree with that. I'm very much a uniter."

Meanwhile, Ireton maintains his record speaks for itself.

"In end, this is going to be about Salisbury's 40 percent drop in crime over the last four years," Ireton said. "It's going to be about a watershed plant for the Wicomico River for the first time. It's going to be about having $16 million in surplus, and having a 270-page downtown plan ready to go. Whoever files doesn't have that."

Ireton is also confident he has fulfilled his promises to the Salisbury community.

"I am lucky that I get to look you in the eye and say that I did exactly what I said I was going to do as mayor," he noted. "For better or for worse, for all of the peripheral things and the distractions that are going to come in this race, I'm going to look at every one of our voters in the city and say I did exactly what I said I was going to do when I ran, and I'm proud of that."

Albero said he sees many problems with the city, including the need to revitalize not only the downtown area, but all of Salisbury, as well as address ongoing infrastructure problems.

"The longer we don't address these problems and face the real battles of business and the complications of moving forward, the worse it's going to be," he said. "I'm willing to step up to the plate and maybe not be the most popular, feel-good mayor by kissing babies all the time and doing press conferences all the time. My job is going to be working on fixing the many, many things that need to be addressed in Salisbury."

So far, besides the two candidates for mayor, April Jackson and Eugenie Shields have filed for council seats in District 1, while Debbie Campbell and Jacob Day have filed in District 2. The filing deadline is Jan. 15.

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