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Kauffman hoping for re-election to council

January 26, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A former Hagerstown City Councilman would like voters to return him to City Hall in the next election.

Ira P. Kauffman Jr., a Democrat who served on the council from 1977 to 1981, has filed as a City Council candidate for the 2001 election.

His more recent involvement with city government came when he made a formal accusation that the current mayor and council broke the law last year when they held several closed-door budget meetings. The Maryland Open Meetings Compliance Board later cleared the mayor and council of any wrongdoing regarding Kauffman's complaint.

Kauffman said if elected he would vote to close meetings to the public only if the council were going to discuss firing or reprimanding an employee.

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Kauffman said he wants to bring back the ward system for electing council members. The 1981 city election was the last city election in which council members were elected from five separate wards. Since then all council candidates have run on a citywide ballot.

"It gives more direct representation to the people," he said.

He also wants to "get the city out of the banking and real estate business."

Kauffman said he supports the city's Single Family Homeownership Program, which buys, renovates and resells homes, but opposes the city buying commercial properties, such as the Baldwin House complex and the former Tristate Electrical Supply Co. building.

He said he also opposes spending any city money on a new baseball stadium or a proposed Civil War museum, and has been critical of the council's decision to subsidize the ice rink at the fairgrounds.

Kauffman is the first candidate to file for the council election. The filing deadline is Jan. 26, 2001.

Kauffman said he filed as a candidate so early because the City Clerk told him earlier this week he couldn't yet. Kauffman said he went to the elections board and found out he could file for the election.

The primary election is March 13, 2001. The general election is May 15, 2001.

He said he didn't seek re-election in 1981 because it "wasn't fair for my company," he said.

Kauffman, 67, is a Hagerstown native. He lives at 1009 Lindsay Lane with his wife of 47 years, Nancy.

He retired in 1998 from the Central Intelligence Agency.

Council members are paid $8,000 a year.

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