SNOW HILL – Worcester County attorney Ed Hammond will retire at the end of January, with 33 years of service to Worcester County on his resume.
Hammond took up the county attorney post part-time in 1974 and resigned from his private law practice to work full-time for the county in 2002.
He had little thought of a career in public service while in law school at the University of Georgia and the University of Maryland, Hammond said this week.
“In law school, I was thinking about fulfilling my military obligation and coming back and living in Berlin,” he said.
Hammond spent two years in the U.S. Army, ending his service as a First Lieutenant.
“I figured I could make a decent living as a lawyer,” Hammond said of his career. As for working for the county, he said, “they offered me a job so I took it.”
Called by some the “eighth County Commissioner” for his outspoken comments at public meetings, Hammond scoffed at the idea, saying that anyone who says that is misinformed.
“The county attorney represents the people of the county and as such to the county government,” Hammond said. “The county attorney has to give them legal advice so what they do is legally done and gives them the legal authority to do it. … I’ve tried to steer them in the right direction.”
Hammond recalled working for the Ocean City attorney at the time as a law student.
“I actually wrote the Ocean City charter,” he said. “I did it one summer when I worked for Mr. Williams.”
During that project, he came across a letter written by a city attorney in the 1920s or 1930s, he said, in which that attorney informed the City Council that the ordinance members had requested be written was “absolutely illegal.”
Hammond took that to heart in his dealings with the Worcester County.
“That struck me 35 years ago. I was a law student then,” he said. “I’ve been more strident about that whenever the commissioners wanted to do things unconstitutionally.”
Hammond’s successor, former Worcester County Commissioner and lawyer Sonny Bloxom, is a good choice, he said.
Bloxom will benefit from his many years as a county commissioner, Hammond said, adding. “It certainly gives him background. Obviously, it’s going to affect his perspective.”
Bloxom has 30 years of legal experience behind him. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1976 and began private practice in 1977. He spent two years as an assistant state’s attorney (1979 to 1980), 11 years as the Pocomoke City attorney (1979 to 1990), and a year as attorney for the Board of Education (1990).
Bloxom’s tenure as a County Commissioner lasted 13 years, from 1990 to 1995, and then from 1998 to 2006. He has been out of public life since leaving office in 2006 after an unsuccessful campaign for a state delegate seat.
“He’s certainly experienced,” Hammond said of his successor.
At the moment, Hammond has few specific plans for his retirement.
“I have a lot of options but I’m really not sure,” he said. “I’ll probably spend more time at the Calvin B. Taylor Museum. I’ll probably read some more. I’m very interested in World War II history.”
When asked whether he plans to write a book about his experiences, Hammond said, “I’m not sure I’m capable of writing a book. I looked at [local attorney] Joe Moore’s book and realized what a difficult job it was.”
Although Hammond is heavily involved in Berlin’s affairs as a private citizen, he said he does not think he will be so involved in county matters once he is retired and leaves his county work behind.
As for running for office himself, he said, “I’m old but I’m not crazy.”