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Sharpsburg Town Council breaks its silence on two issues

January 10, 2002

Sharpsburg Town Council breaks its silence on two issues



By JULIE E. GREENE
julieg@herald-mail.com


SHARPSBURG - The Sharpsburg Town Council finally broke its silence Monday night about two issues to which the panel had previously chosen to respond with silence.

At least some of the council members had something to say.

At November's monthly meeting, Fonda Ghiardi asked the council to approve an easement for a cellar entry using a public sidewalk. She was met with silence.

When Mayor Sid Gale went on to the next item, Ghiardi's neighbor spoke up, wanting to know why nothing was being said about her request.

At December's meeting, Gale read a request from the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County to use funds for benches that the council had set aside for a veterans' memorial.

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Again, silence.

Asked Monday night about the earlier silence, Councilman Ralph Hammond said, "It spoke for itself."

His wife, Councilwoman Patti Hammond, said she doesn't speak up if she has nothing to say.

Newcomer Councilwoman Marjorie Jamison had nothing to say about saying nothing.

J.W. Eichelberger said he doesn't have much experience as a council member, but he didn't see the need to speak up then or in the future if the council feels the same way on an issue.

If someone in the audience has a question about what's going on or not going on, they can ask, he said.

Asked recently what he thinks about all the silence, Mayor Sid Gale said, "I think that everyone should have the right to have their issue discussed."

But as mayor, Gale said, he can't put a motion on the floor to take action. On the two issues, Gale was left to interpret the silence.

On Monday night, Vice Mayor Hal Spielman asked Gale what had been done about the veterans' council's request.

The council finally spoke up, deciding not to spend the money on the benches.

Gale asked the council what it wanted to do about the easement request.

Councilman Russ Weaver, who was absent from the November and December meetings, made a motion that Town Attorney Charles Wagaman draw up the easement so council members could review it.

While the vote was recorded as 5-1, Ralph Hammond didn't give a noticeable response and refused to say afterward whether he cast a yea or nay vote.

Patti Hammond, cast the sole dissenting vote, but refused to say why.

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