A brief summary of who applied for the vacant Washington County commissioner seat

By Ryan Miner 

md-washingtonco

The Washington County Republican Central Committee yesterday released the names of twelve individuals who applied for the Board of County Commissioner vacancy left open after Vincent G. “Woody” Spong resigned in disgrace last month and withdrew his name from consideration.

The following individuals applied for the commissioner vacancy:

Gary E. Baker
Steve Blickenstaff
Gary E. Bockrath
Brian Flook
William Edward Forrest
William Ray Harner Jr.
Wayne Kelly Keefer
David R. Keller III
Brenda J. Thiam
Randall Wagner
Seth Wilson
Robin L. Wivell

In the upcoming days, I will release via A Miner Detail a comprehensive background and dossier on each candidate, but this article will provide a few minor details about each of the Republican applicants.

Gary E. Baker:

Full name: Gary Eugene Baker
DOB: April 5, 1950
Age: 65
Home address: 2808 Mills Road – Sharpsburg, MD 21782
Phone number: (301) 432-7694
Other minor details: Mr. Baker’s late mother, Mary Baker, was a judge for the Washington County Orphans Court for 17 years, retiring in 1994.

Steve Blickenstaff:

Full name: Steven Lee Blickenstaff
DOB: September 15, 1963
Age: 52
Home address: 208 Cumberland Street – Clear Spring, MD 21722
Phone number: (301) 842-2023
Other minor details: Mr. Blickenstaff is the current Vice-Mayor of Clear Spring; he is up for reelection this year. Blickenstaff was first elected to the Clear Spring Town Council in 2004. He is a former county building and mechanical inspector and has been employed with Apple Valley Waste since 2013. Blickenstaff applied for the same vacant commissioner seat in 2015.

Gary Bockrath:

Full name: Gary E. Bockrath
DOB: October 14, 1952
Age: 63
Home address: 13531 The Heights – Hagerstown, MD 21742
Phone number: (301) 790-5070
Other minor details: Mr. Bockrath’s comprehensive LinkedIn profile details his work and business experience and can be found here. Bockrath and his wife, Deborah, are regular attendees at the Maryland Symphony Orchestra concerts. He is a well-respected financial consultant in the Washington County community. Bockrath applied for the same vacant commissioner seat in 2015.

Brian Flook:

Full name: Brian Lee Flook
DOB: 1/25/1959
Age: 57
Home address20844 Jessie Lane – Boonsboro, MD 21713
Phone number(301) 797-5940
Other minor details: Mr. Flook is the President and CEO of Power Marketing. He also serves as the president of Real Estate Innovations Group and is half-owner of Coldwell Banker Innovations. Flook is active in several community organizations. He recently co-chaired the United Way of Hagerstown’s annual campaign alongside his business partner, Clarence Horst. He is a member of the Hagerstown Rotary Club. Mr. Flook applied for the delegate vacancy last year, however; Bill Wivell was chosen for the seat.

Ed Forrest:

Full name: William Edward “Ed” Forrest
DOB: March 30, 1963
Age: 52
Home address20437 Old Forge Road – Hagerstown, MD 21742
Phone number(301) 714-0956
Other minor details: Mr. Forrest served on the Washington County Board of Education for three terms – also serving as president. He ran for county commissioner twice. He is a Pharmacy Manager/Pharmacist in Hagerstown. Forrest applied last year for the commissioner vacancy; however, disgraced Woody Spong was chosen by the Republican Central Committee for the commissioner seat. 

William Ray Harner, Jr. 

Full name: William Ray Harner, Jr.
DOB: May 18, 1958
Age: 57
Home address5007 Red Hill Rd – Keedysville, MD 21756
Phone number: (301) 432-7090
Other minor details: Based upon various database searches, Mr. Harner is or was a Department of Natural Resources police officer and once lived in Eason, Md. (Talbot Couty). 

Wayne Keffer:

Full name: Wayne Kelly Keefer
DOB: February 26, 1986
Age: 29
Home address: 209 Baptist Road – Hancock, MD 21750
Phone number: (301) 678-6457
Other minor details: Mr. Keefer is a bank administrator and Assistant Vice President of CNB Bank in Hancock. Keefer was recently appointed by Gov. Hogan to serve a four-year term on the Washington County Board of Elections; the Senate Executive Nominations Committee voted favorably on Keefer’s appointment. Keefer served as the treasurer of the Hancock Historical Society and is the current President of the Hancock Chamber Board of Directors. Keefer is a member of the Hancock Rotary Club. He currently serves as the treasurer for Terry Baker’s congressional campaign.

David R. Keller III:

Full Name: David R. Keller III
DOB: July 28, 1974
Age: 41
Home address: 16081 Spielman Road – Williamsport, MD 21795
Phone number: (301) 223-5632
Other minor details: Mr. Keller is a volunteer with the Citizens Truck Company in Frederick, Md. He is the immediate past president of the Maryland State Fireman’s Association and is also a volunteer with the Williamsport Volunteer Fire and EMS (Co. 2).

Dr. Brenda J. Thiam:

Full name: Dr. Brenda Jeanette Thiam
DOB: September 9, 1969
Age: 46
Home address: 258 Brynwood Street – Hagerstown, MD 21740
Phone number: (301) 797-0092
Other minor details: According to Dr. Thiam’s personal Facebook page, she is an Autism Specialist with Washington County Public Schools. Thiam is on the board of the Washington County Commission for Women and serves in the position of secretary. Her comprehensive biography is listed on the Commission for Women’s website and can be found here. According to her bio, Thiam is currently the president of the Washington County Alliance of Black School Educators.

Randall Wagner:

Full name: Randall “Randy” Wagner
DOB: June 20, 1950
Age: 65
Home address13628 Pulaski Dr – Hagerstown, MD 21742
Phone number: (301) 797-1381
Other minor details: Mr. Wagner is an experienced real estate professional with Mackintosh Realtors. His bio is listed on his website and can be found here. Wagner graduated with North Hagerstown High School’s class of 1968, according to his personal Facebook page. 

Seth Wilson:

Full name: Seth Edward Wilson
DOB: September 4, 1970
Age: 45
Home address: 12010 Warrenfeltz Lane – Hagerstown, MD 21742
Phone number
(301) 797-4620
Other minor details: Mr. Wilson is a radical partisan extremist and has run multiple times unsuccessfully and disastrously for public office. He was elected to the Washington County Republican Central Committee in 2014 and currently serves as its 1st Vice Chair. Wilson claims he’ll “recuse himself” from the process, leaving only eight members (5 elected and 3 unelected) of the Republican Central Committee to choose the outcome of the commissioner vacancy.

Wilson ran for Congress in 2010 and was embarrassingly defeated by Roscoe Barlett in the Republican primary. Wilson also ran for a Maryland House of Delegates (former District 2B) seat in 1998 but was crushed in the Republican primary by Chris Shank. Last year, Wilson applied for the delegate vacancy and was also soundly rejected by the Republican Central Committee, according to insiders.
Please learn more about Seth Wilson here and here. Wilson endeavors to be a career politician.

Robin Wivell:

Full name: Robin Lynne Wivell
DOB: August 31, 1964
Age: 51
Home Address49 E Water Street – Smithsburg, MD 21783
Phone number: (301) 824-2627
Other minor details: Robin Wivell is also an extremist, Tea Party radical demagogue. She is vehemently unqualified to be a county commissioner. Robin Wivell is the wife of Del. William J. Wivell – a former county commissioner and current Maryland delegate. Nepotism cannot root itself in Washington County’s community.

She is running simultaneously for the Washington County Board of Education – a nonpartisan office. Wivell is applying for one job and already wants another. Does this show any sort of commitment to the Washington County Board of Education and the nearly 24,000 public school students? Wivell would be the establishment, insider choice of the Washington County Republican Central Committee, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she is on their short list already. She doesn’t have nearly the qualifications as most of the other candidates running. She’s a partisan hack and wannabe career politician.

Wivell ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 2010, having been defeated in the Republican primary. She is currently working as a realtor with Coldwell Banker in Hagerstown.