Mark served two terms as Councilmember from 2009 to 2013 then returned in 2015. On the Council, he has reduced spending while growing Rockville’s tax base. His experiences on the Council, as a small-business owner, as president of the College Gardens Civic Association, and his stint as chair of the Town Center Action Team, as well as his biking and walking tours of all City streets give him a unique perspective on the needs of residents and businesses.
As a Peace Corps volunteer from 1980 to 1983 in Swaziland, Africa, Mark taught high school mathematics and biology. There he met Lesley Cross, and they married in 1984. Their two daughters attended Montgomery County Public Schools from K-12th grade. Lesley works as a media assistant at College Gardens Elementary.
Mark holds a master’s degree in mathematical statistics and a bachelor’s in mathematics. He’s worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Westat, and Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. In 2010 he started MMP Survey Services, LLC. A current project is an NIH-funded Opioid Misuse Study.
Mark thinks strategically and provides the thought leadership on the Council for the big, controversial issues. He is not afraid to challenge the conventional wisdom. If you want to influence Mark, then bring cogent argument, history, and data to back up your position. Mark is always willing to learn and adjust, but you cannot intimidate him.
A vote for Mark is a vote for green eyeshades, fine-print notations, and institutional memory. He has a great capacity for identifying and planning for challenges over the horizon.
Mark was the first to identify the negative impacts of Rockville’s first Adequate Public Facility Ordinance (APFO) and Standards (APFS). He led the effort to right-size this law to provide more resources for school construction. The old APFO/APFS made our school capacity problems worse.
Mark was College Gardens Civic Association president for four years. He led the neighborhood in its collaboration with City staff that resulted in the award-winning College Gardens Park, which has won national recognition. Under his leadership the neighborhood was well represented during revision of the City’s zoning ordinance, one of only a few neighborhoods effectively engaged in that process.
Since 2015, Mark has led the Council effort on two important issues: First was opposition to County’s efforts to place two bus depots in Rockville. Second, he led the awareness campaign and the City’s opposition to widening I-270 through Rockville. Mark knows when and how to effectively throw a hissy fit on behalf of our neighborhoods. Mark’s promotion of smart growth near transit helps neighborhoods by providing adequate amounts of legitimate housing away from our traditional neighborhoods. One of the biggest threats to our neighborhoods has been the increase of illegal boarding houses and homes with 2 or more families. This happens when housing supply is restricted.
Mark has biked every City street four times. From 2014 to 2015, he walked every City street as well as every park and every public-school campus. His four City-wide bike trips and over 500 miles of walking in more than 200 trips gave him an unmatched visual knowledge of the City’s built and natural environments and how all the areas work, or could work, together.
The Cross/Pierzchala yard is a National Wildlife Habitat. Besides native plant species, the yard features three rain barrels and two rain gardens. Lesley walks 10 minutes to work, while Mark works out of the home. Their home is energy efficient. Mark is a longtime liaison to the Rockville Environment Commission. When it comes to planning for energy efficiency, stormwater management, and clean air, Mark is strong advocate for environmental stewardship.
Mark is a working senior. His typical schedule between his business and council duties is a year-round 60 to 70 hours per week. Mark has always supported seniors in Rockville. This includes voting for the Senior Center expansion in 2010, the deciding vote in a 3-2 decision. Mark is an active senior. He continues to bike and walk extensively to commute around the City.