(July 31, 2020) Lifelong Ocean City resident and attorney Peter Buas has filed to run for a City Council seat.
This year’s election will be held on Nov. 3, and four seats are up for grabs — Councilmembers Dennis Dare, Tony DeLuca, John Gehrig and Mary Knight are up for reelection.
As of this week, only DeLuca has filed for candidacy, according to City Clerk Diana Chavis.
Buas, 29, is the eldest of six children, and began working for the resort at the age of 12, as a clerk at the Buckingham Hotel.
He attended Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, and juggled his hotel responsibilities with his studies — later taking on night shifts at a Holiday Inn.
After graduating from Worcester Preparatory School in 2009, he went on to attend the University of Maryland, College Park, graduating in 2013.
He moved on to the University of Baltimore, and graduated in 2016 with a law degree.
After graduating in 2016, he worked as a clerk for the Circuit Court of Worcester County for two years, before joining the firm of Williams, Moore, Shockley & Harrison as an associate attorney.
“I care about this town so much — it’s everything to me,” he said. “The second I got a chance to move back down after I got an education I did.”
Buas said what propelled him to run for a council seat was his desire to provide a voice for downtown resort residents who have witnessed the escalation of noise, litter and reckless behavior within the area.
“It has been a growing trend,” Buas said. “Sure, June is special and way worse than ever before, but it has been something that’s been growing every year.”
Buas said as a council member he wanted to be more aggressive in problem solving, rather than relying on state aid.
“The town recently worked with Del. Wayne Hartman [R-38C] to do the reckless driving bill. I think that was great, I think that’s exactly the type of stuff we need,” Buas said. “But, that was an example of the town passing the buck to state delegates, which is fine, [but] there’s other stuff the town could have done in the first place.”
Buas also is advocating responsible budgeting and spending, transforming the public image of the city, supporting city staff, responsible downtown development and revitalization and transparency in council decisions.
“That’s [lack of transparency] been brought up a lot over the past year, too,” Buas said.
Buas mentioned former Councilman Vince Gisriel, who filed a Maryland Open Meetings Act complaint against the council this year for hosting closed sessions for its pier franchise negotiations.
“I think having the public watch a debate among the council is very important because then we get people right [there giving] the council new ideas,” he said. “Everyone on the council can’t come up with every idea, so I think if you have the public debate, you’re going to spark more people to come up with better ideas.”
Unless an issue absolutely demands a closed discussion, the public should get a say, Buas said.
As a younger candidate, Buas said he could relate to multiple demographics.
“I think that I can really jump in and add some value,” Buas said. “We got a younger population moving into town too, people are coming of age, people I grew up with. They’re now business owners and stuff like that and I think I got the ability to work with these people.”
If elected, Buas said he would work to be a liaison between the public and city officials.
“I love getting involved in everything and what they [residents] will get from me, if I’m lucky enough that they place their confidence in me, is someone that’s going to keep working for this town and someone they can talk to,” he said. “If they give me a call, I’m going to answer and I’m going to try to find [them] an answer.”
The deadline to file for this year’s mayoral and City Council election is Oct. 6, and must be done in person at the city clerk’s office in City Hall on Third Street.