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Mayor Bruchey to sell cars again

January 09, 1998

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

Mayor Bob is back in business - as a car salesman.

Robert E. Bruchey II started work this week at his new second job - a salesman for Hagerstown Ford at 1714 Massey Blvd.

Bruchey said Friday that he needed the second job to support his family, which includes his wife, Susan, and three sons.

When Bruchey campaigned to become mayor last year, he promised to give away the $4,000 raise approved for the mayor's salary and that has had a definite impact on his family's income, he said.

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At the time he made the promise he was still employed as a car salesman with Massey Lincoln Mercury Hyundai on Massey Boulevard, Bruchey said. His wife does not work.

Bruchey said his pay at Hagerstown Ford hasn't been determined yet, but will include a salary and commission.

This year, $4,000 of his $28,000 mayoral salary will be given to United Way and to scholarships for graduates from the city's three high schools, he said.

"I intended to work anyway," said Bruchey, 39, of 905 Woodland Way.

Bruchey, who began his new job Tuesday, said he expects to work at least 40 hours a week as manager of the dealership's new fleet department.

As mayor, he'll probably work 35 hours a week.

"I'm used to doing 70, 75 hours a week, so this to me is nothing. It's a cake walk," Bruchey said.

His schedule is flexible enough that it won't take away from his duties as mayor, he said.

Bruchey said he gives his supervisor his mayoral schedule a month at a time so his hours can be worked around prior commitments. When scheduling large meetings for the mayor, Bruchey said his secretary at City Hall knows he needs two weeks prior notice.

If an emergency requires his presence at City Hall, he'll be there, Bruchey said. And if he needs to sign some city papers in a pinch, someone can always bring them to the dealership, he said.

"He's been accessible to us and we've been able to maintain good communications. He's got flexibility in terms of coming in for meetings," City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said.

"I'm comfortable with the arrangement and I think he can still continue to serve the city very well and be accessible to citizens and staff," Zimmerman said.

Bruchey said citizens trying to reach him at his home phone number, 301-733-7454, may occasionally have to leave a message, but he will return calls.

The mayor also will continue holding late hours at City Hall on the first and third Mondays of each month, from 6 to 8 p.m.

As fleet manager, Bruchey will work with business customers who buy 10 or more new vehicles a year, said General Sales Manager Charlie Benson.

Benson said he doesn't expect any problems doing business with the City of Hagerstown since the city has a competitive bidding process.

Council members vote on vehicle purchases, generally approving the lowest, qualified bid, Zimmerman said.

Hagerstown Ford has not bid on city vehicle purchases in recent years, Zimmerman said.

Hagerstown Ford doesn't bid on city vehicle purchases because they aren't on the list of dealerships that get state financial assistance for selling equipment to the city government, Bruchey said. The dealership will be applying for that assistance, he said.

While Bruchey does not usually have a vote, he can cast a vote to break a tie.

"He clearly could not vote on a bid involving his employer," Zimmerman said.

Bruchey said his job will not present a conflict of interest.

"I don't do anything for anybody that isn't right for the city," Bruchey said. "This is private business. Being the mayor is public business."

Zimmerman said he doesn't have any specific concerns about the city doing business with companies to which Bruchey has sold a vehicle.

City officials can refer to the city code and city attorney if there's a question whether a conflict of interest would exist, he said.

Bruchey said there's rarely a need for him to break a tie since everyone is working in the same direction.

When asked his response to people who might crack jokes about the mayor being a car salesman, Bruchey referred to other local politicians' jobs.

"What's Jim Grimes do for a living? He's basically a truck salesman." Grimes, mayor of Frederick, Md., owns Grimes Truck Center.

State Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Hagerstown, sells securities, Bruchey said.

"It's just a position, a respectable, professional position," Bruchey said. "The stereotype of a car salesman comes from the '50s and '60s."

Car salespeople now are intelligent, business people who are professionally trained, he said.

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