Former mayor may seek council seat

January 12, 2001

Former mayor may seek council seat

By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer

Former Hagerstown Mayor Steven T. Sager hopes to return to City Hall as a member of the City Council, but Sager says he'll only run if he can keep his state job and serve on the council at the same time.

Sager said the Maryland Attorney General's Office told him Thursday it was OK for him to run. Now he's checking with the Maryland State Ethics Commission.

"It is my intention to run. The only thing I envision changing that would be a clear 'Don't do this' from the ethics commission," Sager said.

"On a personal level I miss it and I believe I still have a lot to contribute. ... I want to ensure the moving forward of good programs and projects like Neighborhoods 1st and downtown revitalization," he said.


Sager, 47, was mayor for 12 years from 1985 until 1997, when he lost the election to Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, a Republican, who said he will announce his bid for re-election today.

Sager, a Democrat, said he would have no problem working with Bruchey if the two former political opponents are successful in the upcoming election.

"There isn't animosity now. It was a friendly campaign. ... The mayor was one of the folks who encouraged me to run," Sager said.

"There's a couple of things we've worked on together," Sager said, noting their efforts to bring a planned state university center downtown.

In May 1999 Sager met with Bruchey and the City Council and presented a plan to locate the center in the vacant city-owned Baldwin House complex. During that meeting, the mayor and council decided to offer the Baldwin House complex to the state as a free site for a university center.

Sager said there "may be a time in the future when I want to be mayor again."

For now he wants a seat on the council so he has enough time to keep his current job.

"When I was mayor it was well beyond a 40-hour a week job. ... So I couldn't do my current job and be mayor," he said.

Sager is a regional manager in the Western Maryland customer service office of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. He said he has permission from his department to run for council.

If elected, Sager said he will recuse himself from votes or discussions that involve the department.

He said in a typical year there are "just a handful" of issues that would in some way involve the department. For example, Sager said he would have had to excuse himself from deliberations on a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust for improvements to city-owned buildings at Hagerstown's Fairgrounds Park because the historical trust is an agency of his department.

The city election candidate filing deadline is Jan. 26. The city primary is March 13 and the general election is May 15.

Council members are paid $8,000 a year.

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