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City leaders plan to swear in singing

May 28, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Hagerstown's new mayor and City Council members will sing their way into office next Monday during a swearing-in ceremony and reception.

The incoming elected officials are already breaking tradition and learning the art of compromise. They met Tuesday night at City Hall to plan the upcoming ceremony.

J. Wallace "Wally" McClure, who led all new elected officials with 2,215 votes in last week's general election, proposed making the ceremony an event.

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"There comes a time when you have to seize the moment," said McClure. "There's an euphoria, an excitement, a buzz on the streets" from the recent election.

McClure said he wanted to hold a ceremony that would involve citizens as much as possible.

Alfred W. Boyer, the other incoming newcomer to the council, said "With all due respect, all this euphoria you talk about didn't show up at the polls." Voter turnout during the election was 23 percent.

Incoming officials would have to do something drastically different to draw more people to the ceremony, Boyer said.

With only five days to plan the swearing-in, the newly elected officials decided to put off an elaborate ceremony. They will see if the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce or Greater Hagerstown Committee want to co-sponsor such an event.

Other problems with holding such an event in Council Chambers included the room's maximum capacity of 49 people set by the fire marshal's office.

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner, who was re-elected, said the room will probably exceed that capacity with family, civic leaders and city department managers alone.

While the public is invited, there'd be little point in encouraging 500 people to show up when they'd end up waiting in the hallway, Metzner said.

The swearing-in will include piano music, courtesy of McClure's Piano Shop, and a rendition of "God Bless America" by the new mayor and council. Hagerstown Civil Air Patrol will present the flags.

Mayor Steven T. Sager and outgoing council members Mark Jameson and Fred Kramer are expected to be at the swearing-in.

The timing of the swearing-in also breaks with some tradition.

According to City Charter, the new mayor and council must be sworn in at 8 p.m. on the second Monday following the election, returning Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein pointed out after the informal meeting broke up.

Mayor-elect Robert E. Bruchey II said holding the swearing-in at 6 p.m. should be OK since the last swearing-in in 1993 was held at 7 p.m.

"The precedent's already been set," he said.

Bruchey asked earlier that the ceremony be held at 6 p.m. because his son Robert, 12, wants to be present for the swearing-in, but has a ballgame at 7:30 p.m.

The younger Bruchey is the starting pitcher for Federal Little League's Rotary team, the mayor-elect said. The game's starting time was pushed back from 6 p.m.

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