It was an aspiration held by many men of his generation. Gary Taylor thought for sure he would play professional baseball as an adult. Baseball was the main thing on his mind as a boy. And he was actually scouted by the Cleveland Indians — but an automobile accident when he was 15 years old abruptly ended those plans. That set off a sequence of events that brought him to the where he is today — as Selbyville’s departing town administrator of 10 years.
“I played semi-pro after high school, but after the accident I was never really the same. So I figured I should go to school,” he recalled.
After high school, he attended the Baltimore College of Commerce, presently known as the University of Baltimore. He received his undergraduate in finance and became a certified public accountant. He worked in the corporate market for 17 years, selling liquor wholesale in Maryland.
Then, for three years he worked in computer gaming software and was eventually recruited by DISC, a company in Pikesville, Md., that did mainframe software for banking and the IRS.
“My job was to make them grow. I traveled around and bought other companies. When I started, they did $8 million in sales, and when I left they did $180 million, so I sold myself right out of a job,” he explained, laughing.
Born and raised in Baltimore, in a neighborhood in the city called Northwood, Taylor was eager to live in the country.
“After my folks moved to the Timonium area, my wife and I built a house near Bel Air. It was real country living, with land and horses — we had a good ol’ time.”
After years of working in the corporate world, he “retired” at 49 and spent a few years playing golf and fishing. He and his wife moved to the countryside of the Eastern Shore and he soon realized he was too young to not be working.
Then, 10 years ago, he saw the ad for the position of town administrator for Selbyville and decided to give it a shot. With his background in finance, he was a perfect fit.
“I saw the job opening here and applied, and then I thought ‘Oh, man, what have I done?’” he remembered jokingly.
“Basically, as town administrator, you are chief operating officer of the town. Coming from the financial world, it was a perfect fit. You oversee the departments, budgets and report directly to council,” he said.
After he started the job, he quickly realized he was surrounded by people who had a strong love for their town and its future.
“Selbyville still has that small-town atmosphere,” he explained. “Here, we have a very proactive council. It’s been the same council the whole time I’ve been here — which is unheard of.
“And when I say it’s the same since I have been here – they were here even before I came,” he noted. “They were all born and raised here and have businesses here and are here for the good of the town. They are always thinking, ‘How does it benefit the town?’ They make you feel like a part of the town — like you live here — and with the time you put in, you darn near do!”
Taylor is proud of many of the things Selbyville has been able to accomplish over the years he’s been the town administrator. He spoke of the old railroad station that got refurbished with a grant from the Department of Transportation and now is a town museum that people come and fill with their historical treasures.
He is also proud of being able to turn the land on Park Street where Selbyville’s pool once sat into playing fields for the children. In addition to that, they have seen much growth and annexation and are currently undergoing the extension of their water and sewer systems on Routes 54 and 17.
And the growth he has seen has made the most impact on his tenure as town administrator.
“The best thing has been watching the town grow and feeling as if I was a part of it,” he said. “And as much as I gave, I got back. I got a lot of satisfaction out of seeing things happen.”
Taylor was and will continue to be active with the economic development of the town and is proud of their taking part in the electricity cooperative offered through the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce.
“I am proactive with economic development and probably will stay involved with that,” he added.
Karen McGrath, executive director of the Chamber — which now incorporates the Selbyville area — gushed with accolades for Taylor.
“I love Gary Taylor!” she exclaimed. “We’re so disappointed he is leaving. He was such a pleasure to work with in so many ways. He is so smart and forward thinking. He was always looking out for the best interest of the town and was a great match for the years he was there.”
And although she will miss seeing him as town administrator, McGrath said she has faith is his replacement as well.
“We’re also thrilled that Bob Dickerson is coming on,” she said. “He’s a fantastic resource for Selbyville and a great guy.”
Taylor added that he is also confident that former Baltimore Trust manager and vice president Dickerson is a great replacement.
“He is a perfect fit,” Taylor said. “The timing just worked out perfectly. We got a lot of good resumes, but he just fit the mold. It will be a good transition.”
As for the future, Taylor will stay on at Selbyville town hall until May 30 to train Dickerson, who was to officially start on Monday, March 17.
“Oh, I’ll be here, in the office, unless they get sick of me,” joked Taylor. After that, he will continue to work with the town as a consultant for a year and will be able to assist via telecommuting while he and his wife enjoy lots of traveling and visiting with their son and daughter.
They plan on enjoying a “real” retirement this time, and although Taylor saw much of the country as a salesman, he expects to enjoy it much more as a spectator this time around.
“We have a trip planned in November, and after that we will venture cross-country sometime next summer. We’ll stay as long as we want and come back when we feel like it!” he said with the air of a man truly looking forward to a real retirement.