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Bowers will not seek second term as Smithsburg's mayor

March 06, 2002|BY ANDREW SCHOTZ

SMITHSBURG - Mayor Tommy Bowers announced Tuesday that he will not seek a second term, leaving the May election wide open.

None of the three incumbents whose terms expire this year - Bowers and council members Mike Rohrer and Charlie Slick - are running again. All have been in office since 1998 and are finishing four-year terms.

While Rohrer is not running again for council, he said after the meeting that he may run for mayor.

If he does, he will face Mildred "Mickey" Myers, who filed on Feb. 27.

Myers was mayor from 1994 to 1998. Bowers narrowly defeated her in the 1998 election.

Only James LaFemina has filed to run for council in May.

The filing deadline is April 1.

Bowers called the three open seats "a rare opportunity for newcomers."

"I like public service," he said. "I like anything to help people in any form I can."

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But "it's time for me to move on," he said. Long hours at his federal security job in Emmitsburg, Md., helped guide his decision.

In an interview afterward, Bowers - a former police officer and chief - said he is thinking about challenging Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades, who is seeking a fifth term this fall.

"It may be an uphill battle, but I'm not afraid of a fight," Bowers said.

Bowers would rather work on airplanes as an armed sky marshal, but as a "51-year-old wearing trifocals," he's ineligible, he said.

If Bowers doesn't run for sheriff, he plans to look for a federal law enforcement job.

"I am still very much a police officer," he said.

Bowers said he's proud the town improved its infrastructure, water system and public works department during his tenure. Meetings have been more open and "all dirty laundry has been put on the clothesline, which is how it should be," he said.

Myers and the town council who served with her fired Bowers as police chief in 1997. Last year, though, Myers and Bowers declared their feud to be over.

Myers said Tuesday that her public service never stopped, particularly developing Veterans' Park and trying to build a new library branch.

"To serve the public, the town of Smithsburg, is an honor for me," she said.

As mayor, Myers said, she would continue street and water system improvements that started when she was mayor. She also hopes to manage growth, keep water and sewer rates affordable and continue working on the park and library.

Rohrer would not say when he will decide about running for mayor. He said that "life events" led him to decide not to run for council again.

Slick - who has served 14 years as a councilman, although not all in a row - publicly announced in January that he was not running again.

He said Tuesday that his new focus is opening an ice cream shop, an idea he has considered for 17 years.

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