Donald C Fry

Donald C Fry

Donald C. Fry has been the president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC), the central Maryland region's most prominent organization of business and civic leaders, since November 2002.

Under Don’s leadership, the GBC is recognized as a knowledgeable and highly credible business voice in the Baltimore region, Annapolis and Washington, D.C. on policy issues and competitive challenges facing Maryland. Its mission is to apply private-sector leadership to strengthening the business climate and quality of life in the region and state.

Fry served as GBC executive vice president from 1999 to 2002. From 1980 to 1999 Fry was engaged in a private law practice in Harford County. During this time he also served in the Maryland General Assembly. He is one of only a handful of legislators to have served on each of the major budget committees of the General Assembly.

Serving in the Senate of Maryland from 1997 to 1998, Fry was a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee. As a member of the House of Delegates from 1991 to 1997 Fry served on the Ways and Means Committee and on the Appropriations Committee.

Fry is a 1979 graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law. He earned a B.S. in political science from Frostburg State College.

Donald C. Fry: Governor Hogan Makes Good Call to Chart Streamlining of Government

Governor Larry Hogan’s recent decision to establish a new commission in the executive branch to update, reorganize and streamline state government bureaucracy was a very good call indeed. The governor should be applauded for recognizing the importance of taking a hard look at the government’s existing structure and operations, and exploring possible ways to improve efficiency and customer service. Governor Hogan was swept into office on a tide of voters who agreed with his calls for change. Primarily, those calls were focused on getting a handle on the size and cost of state government. Laudably, he is now making good on his promise to move the needle here. As a report by the Regulatory Reform Commission created by Governor Hogan notes, Maryland state government is “convoluted and lacks continuity.” There are 20 executive branch cabinet departments, 70 independent agencies and 550 commissions and boards. Full and part-time state employees numbered more... Continue reading
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Donald C. Fry: The Myths and Realities of TIFs

Earlier this week the Baltimore City Board of Finance unanimously approved a $535 million tax increment financing, or TIF, for the proposed redevelopment of Port Covington, more than 200 acres of mostlyempty industrial land that Sagamore Development Company wants to remake into a bustling hub of homes, stores, waterfront parks and a new headquarters campus for Under Armour.   With the finance board’s approval, the proposal moves on to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is expected to introduce it next week to the City Council for consideration.   The funds that Sagamore is asking Baltimore City to provide under the TIF agreement would be used for public infrastructure improvements to Port Covington, including utilities, streets, parks, bike paths, and more. Admittedly, the phrase “tax-increment financing” doesn't roll off the tongue easily and to some people it may have a particularly bureaucratic ring. That may be one reason TIFs are sometimes misunderstood... Continue reading
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Donald C. Fry: A $15 Minimum Wage and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Back in the 1930s a Harvard-trained sociologist named Robert K. Merton published a paper that examined why deliberate acts intended to cause change (typically intended for the good) sometimes result in unintended (bad) outcomes. The result of Merton’s work has since been referred to as the “law of unintended consequences.” More than a few books on sociology and economics contain interesting, and at times humorous, examples of how this theory has played out.  A telling example is the release of rabbits in parts of Australia to boost the hunting business. Unfortunately it also resulted in gullies and other environmental damage from an explosion of the critters undermining farm fields and other terrain. This leads us to legislation proposed earlier this week by Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke which would raise the minimum wage in the city to $15 per hour by 2020. Like the rabbit release, passage of this bill... Continue reading
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Donald C. Fry: Updating Penn Station is long overdue

In late February at a Congressional committee hearing with Amtrak officials, U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings expressed frustration that Amtrak hasn’t made much progress toward creating concrete plans to redevelop and upgrade Penn Station in Baltimore. "We need that station to be an economic engine," Cummings was reported by The Baltimore Sun to say at the February 26 hearing of the House of Representatives' Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "For nearly a decade there have been many fits around the station without any actual starts. … In no way does it serve as the anchor point for Baltimore that it could and should be." The Maryland congressman was in some ways channeling the frustration that many in the Baltimore business community feel about Penn Station. Updating the station is a project that is long overdue. The five Amtrak-owned land parcels totaling 37 acres that are either adjacent to or near the station are underutilized... Continue reading
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Donald C. Fry: Baltimore’s Pivotal Election and Why Every Vote Will Matter

“Elections belong to the people. It's their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” In today’s scrambled campaign landscape where politics and entertainment seem sorely intertwined, one might think that’s a remark from a late-night TV talk show host. But actually this gem of wit and wisdom comes from one of the finest politicians in American history: Abraham Lincoln. It seems to have particular resonance today for Baltimore as the city nears what anyone who has closely watched the events of the past year unfold consider a pivotal primary election, especially in the city’s mayoral contest. On Tuesday, April 26 Baltimore City voters will determine much about the future direction of the city – which many in the business community and the general populace believe is in dire need of inspiring, thoughtful new... Continue reading
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