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Duffey resigns from job to focus on campaign

July 13, 1998|By MATTHEW BIENIEK

Washington County Commissioner candidate Dennis Duffey says that if elected, he plans to be on the job full time.

The Republican said he'll use that time to keep in close contact with county residents.

"Before I make a decision, I'll get out and walk and talk to the people affected by the decision," he said.

Duffey, 48, said he'll dip into his savings to supplement the $20,000-a-year commissioner salary. He resigned from his job at the Corning Inc., Distribution Center in Greencastle, Pa., on May 6 to campaign full time for commissioner.

Duffey, of Kuhn Avenue in Hagerstown, said his top campaign issues are county water and sewer problems, education and quality of life.

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Duffey made an unsuccessful run for commissioner in 1994, losing in the Republican primary.

He also ran in the Republican primary for mayor of Hagerstown in 1997, but lost to Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

The current Board of Commissioners is not responsive to working with the City of Hagerstown to seek solutions to county water and sewer problems, Duffey said.

The fact that the city sewer system is near capacity might be part of the solution for a county with an under-utilized system, said Duffey.

Despite shrinking federal and state budgets, Duffey said he would seek federal and state funds to help shore up the county water and sewer system until it can pay for itself.

Washington County has a $53 million water, sewer and pretreatment debt. The county plans to subsidize the water and sewer departments with about $2.5 million a year from the general fund for the next five years, according to the county's long-range strategic operating summary released last Tuesday.

Duffey said because of his concerns for the future, he will stress education and activities for youngsters. Working closely with the Washington County Board of Education at budget time would be a priority for him as a commissioner, Duffey said.

Duffey said he believes the school board could attract better teachers by paying better sala-ries.

He said he doesn't think the way to save money is to cut extracurricular activities, such as band and athletics.

Duffey, a South Hagerstown High School graduate who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967-73, said there's not enough for young people to do in the county. The lifelong county resident said providing after-school activities can save the county money by cutting the need to spend it later on troubled kids.

Duffey said he is active in the VFW and American Legion. He's a former supervisor at Garden State Tanning in Williamsport.

Twenty-nine candidates, including 14 Republicans, 14 Democrats and one Independent, have filed to run for seats on the five-member board.

The top five vote-getters from each party in the Sept. 15 primary, and the Independent candidate, will square off in the Nov. 3 general election.

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