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Breichner says city could have kept market master

January 26, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Councilman William M. Breichner said Wednesday that in hindsight the council could have afforded to keep the City Farmers Market's market master, the only city employee laid off last year as a result of budget cuts.

Breichner, some other council members and several market vendors interviewed Wednesday said, however, the layoff doesn't appear to have affected the market.

The city saved about $10,000 by laying off City Market Master Norma Parks last year.

"It did not need to be done," Breichner said about the layoff. "The city could afford it."

Some council members declined to second guess the layoff but said the cut didn't appear to have a negative impact on the market.

"The market appears to be very healthy," said Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein, a frequent market patron.

"I'll only say what's done is done and there's no use crying over spilt milk," Councilman Alfred W. Boyer said about the layoff.

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City spokesperson Karen Giffin, who oversees market operations for the city, said the city's income from market stall rentals in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, is $16,346. Giffin said at this point last year market stall rentals had generated $16,225.

Some vendors said the market has been running well since Parks left six months ago.

Carolyn Litten, a vendor who was critical of the layoff when it happened, said it's too soon to see the impact of the layoff, but so far the market has been operating as it always has.

"Everything's been fine," said Karen Jaye, who runs the restaurant in the market.

"People come to the market for the vendors, not the market master," she said.

Randy Zimmermann, a vendor who is paid $33 a month to serve as the city's liaison with the market vendors, said, "The market's been going great. There's been no impact as far as customers are concerned."

The Farmers Market on West Church Street is open Saturdays from 5 a.m. to noon.

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