Crime, growth on Bruchey's agenda

May 22, 1997


Staff Writer

One day after ousting 12-year incumbent Steven T. Sager, Mayor-elect Robert E. Bruchey II said he would put crime and economic development at the top of his agenda for the city.

Tuesday night's shooting at a motel outside town was another indication that the city needs to crack down on crime soon, Bruchey said at his Woodland Way home.

"We have to get tough," said Bruchey, adding that city officials can't wait until a new crime impact team starts hitting the streets in October.


City police need to toughen up on drugs and prostitution, he said. If the offenders are paraded in front of the judges often enough, the judges might sentence them to longer terms, Bruchey said.

The community also needs to help prevent crime, he said. "The more people we have to fight against it the better off we are."

Bruchey said more police might be needed eventually, but how they would be funded still needs to be determined.

As a Republican, Bruchey said he wouldn't want to raise taxes.

He does want to see a halt to using taxpayer money to redevelop downtown. City officials need to focus more on keeping and attracting businesses rather than beautifying Public Square, he said.

Whether the city will continue to use public funds to redevelop downtown buildings will be up to the new council, which includes three incumbents.

"We're going to be a team, and as long as we have that team mentality we're going to move the city in the right direction," Bruchey said. "I can work with anybody. I'm humble. I'm low-key."

Bruchey said he does get nervous, which is how he felt on Wednesday after defeating Sager, a Democrat.

"There's a lot I've got to learn," said Bruchey, 38, who hasn't been in the mayor's office since he had his picture taken there with his family when he was 10 years old. His father was a city police officer for about 26 years.

Bruchey said he plans to put a $4,000 annual raise to the mayor's salary in a separate account for college scholarships for outstanding seniors from the city's public and private high schools and possibly other things.

He said he'd like to get the money matched by local individuals and businesses.

Bruchey's stands on issues include:

- Shorter service time for police and fire officials to retire. - "The police department and the fire department should be set separately than the rest of city personnel. These jobs are not like regular jobs."

If city officials don't do something to keep their qualified personnel, they could go to Frederick where they could retire earlier with more benefits.

- A union for Hagerstown City Police supervisors - "I believe it's something that needs to be looked at."

- A new minor league baseball stadium - "I'm not totally against a new stadium, but we've got to make sure we can do it in our limits, without costing taxpayers an arm and a leg."

- The Maryland Theatre - "The Maryland Theatre is very important and vital to us and we need to do whatever we can do to help them." The city could help, not necessarily with money, but with direction.

Bruchey retired as a state correctional officer after 13 years because of a disability. He is licensed with Primerica Financial Services, but hasn't been active since December.

He was laid off from Hoffman Chevrolet from mid-April until after the election by a joint decision with his employer so he could have more time to campaign, said Jim Colombo, general sales manager.

Bruchey said he wants to work part time for Hoffman because he would be a full-time mayor.

Bruchey lives at 905 Woodland Way with his wife, Susan. He has three sons, Jason, 20; Robert, 12; and Patrick, 6.

His phone number is 301-733-1656.

The Herald-Mail Articles