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City clerk says she's retiring

March 28, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown City Clerk Gann Breichner is retiring at the end of April to spend more time with her family, she announced Tuesday evening.

Breichner's announcement surprised many, including some City Council members, who thanked Breichner for her service and assistance over the years.

Breichner, city clerk since 1982, said she is retiring for personal reasons. She plans on becoming a "full-time grandmother" - spending more time with her two young grandchildren who live in Hagerstown.

"I have competing priorities now that I didn't have a few years ago. ... At one time my priorities were here (at work). But life changes and now my priorities are elsewhere. With my family," she said.

"I have loved my time working for the City of Hagerstown. I hope that I have contributed to the professional development of the city clerk position," said Breichner, 53.

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Breichner was hired as a secretary for the police department in 1975. She has worked for the city ever since, except for about 15 months in the early 1980s when she worked for two doctors.

In June 1982, Breichner was appointed acting city clerk. In December 1982, the "acting" was dropped from her title and Breichner became the first woman in Hagerstown to be appointed to the permanent position.

Breichner has held many leadership positions on state and international clerks associations, and has been involved with the Maryland Municipal League.

"Gann has always exhibited a lot of pride and love for the City of Hagerstown," said City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman.

"She has performed a valuable service to the city by taking the lead in the restoration and preservation of historical records and by fulfilling the role of historian for the City of Hagerstown. Over the years, Gann has successfully taken steps to professionalize the city clerk's position," Zimmerman said.

Breichner said that as city clerk she tried to be neutral, and treat everyone the same as she gave out information. Her job often involved dealing with the public and city politicians, and advising all on city policies, laws and procedures.

Breichner has taken some criticism, recently and over the years, for not keeping up to date minutes for all council meetings. Last year the state Open Meetings Compliance Board ruled the city violated state law for not having minutes for all council meetings.

Breichner is working on compiling minutes from all meetings of the current mayor and council. She was trying to complete the minutes by the end of March, but now says the minutes will be done before she retires. There are no plans to compile minutes from meetings of prior administrations.

"We'll wrap up all the loose ends," Breichner said.

Zimmerman said a new city clerk has not been chosen, and will be selected using a standard hiring process.

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