My fellow citizens of Wayne County, thank you. You have entrusted me with a sacred duty—the most-honored position of surveyor for the entire county of Wayne, which includes the cities of Portage, Clara, Allerton, and Dixon, as well as many, many townships. As reelection approaches, let me once again assure you that I will never allow this awesome responsibility to affect my humility or in any way impair my service to you.

Not even if I go down in the history books as one of the greatest, longest-serving, and most beloved county surveyors in Maryland history.

I am but a public servant. I arrive each morning bright and early with the day's surveying work foremost on my mind. Please know that my door is always open to citizens who may wish to stop by and talk about county issues or to shake my hand and tell me what a "good job" I am doing or even to mention how much better I am than the last county surveyor, Brad Engels, who was utterly annihilated in the last election and left this office in shame and humiliation. I promise I will never be too busy or important to spend some time with the locals, no matter how seemingly insignificant they might seem on the county level.

While it does not affect me in the slightest, I can understand how some might find being sole protector of more than 900 miles of county-regulated drains impressive. Sexy, even. But I did not get into the county surveyor business to sign autographs or to have my name in the Wayne Ledger three times this year. Nor did I take up this hallowed mantle to see crowds line the streets as I drive by, whereupon fathers turn to their young sons and say in hushed tones, "There goes a man whose ability to record and maintain elevation benchmarks once a year rivals that of Atlas himself. That, son, is a man far better than I."

Worry not, O ye common masses of Wayne County and its outlying areas. I vow never to be one of these men who walks around like he owns one of 12 seats in the county planning commission's bimonthly meetings.

God knows I have seen this job's power swell up inside lesser men, filling them with the godlike righteousness that only comes from being charged with the task of recording and maintaining the square-mile corners of land that were established by Congress to define the borders of Wayne County. Soon they are lording their position as a nonvoting member of the county drainage board over lesser officials. Like, for instance, the deputy county surveyor.

Power like that can make a man his own worst county surveyor.

I am the sort of strong-willed individual who will not fold when verifying all incoming maps for legal and technical adequacy, thus making land-survey information available to the public. I will not deny that, now and then, there is a certain rush that comes with such work—the adrenaline that flows from knowing that with a simple flick of the wrist I could move the boundaries of every one of the polling districts in this whole county three entire inches.

But I would never do that, because you have placed your trust in me, and because those boundaries have to be certified by the State Election Board anyway.

Some credit is due to you, then, Wayne County citizens, for not putting in office some power-hungry opportunist lacking the mettle to handle the job. I would never dare to speak for all of you, but I think it is fair to say that more than a few must be thinking to themselves, "Well, thank God we elected a county surveyor who is free from ego, modest to a fault, and is just generally the Joe DiMaggio of land-parcel mapping and plat checking."

There is absolutely no need to thank me. I am just doing my job. The job that the hundreds of you who came out in droves four years ago to vote a straight Democratic ticket that included, three-fourths of the way down, my name elected me to do. I will never forget that day, when the adult citizens of Wayne County made their haggard, tired, and lowly voices known and begged me to be their new county surveyor, the only man capable of saving them and supervising the annual maintenance of their precious drainage system.

As I said, I am not in this for the praise, but you're welcome anyway.