The Steve Sager era ended quietly last night when Hagerstown's three-term mayor politely passed the gavel to the man who derailed his bid for a fourth term. There was no bitterness from Sager, who even told Mayor Bob Bruchey II he'd be available for consultation, "when you wish."
For his part, Bruchey took responsibility for what looked like a quarrel over the time of the swearing-in ceremony. Bruchey had sought a 6 p.m. swearing-in so he could see his son play baseball, but it was noted that the city charter sets 8 p.m. as the time for the transfer of power. After learning that, Bruchey said, he requested the change, and downplayed any reports of conflict.
Bruchey will need diplomatic skills aplenty when his political honeymoon is over, for several reasons. Citizens who backed him as a law-and-order mayor will expect him to deliver on that promise. Those who have invested money and sweat downtown will want reassurance Bruchey isn't going to turn his back on revitalization.