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Schnebly says he won't seek re-election

June 04, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Washington County Commissioner John L. Schnebly said Monday he does not plan to seek re-election because he does not feel he can give the position the time it deserves because of his job.

"It has become increasingly difficult to serve two pretty powerful masters," he said.

Schnebly, 52, is president of the Keller Stonebraker Insurance Group, where he has worked for 27 years.

"It has become increasingly hard for me to start a business week on Monday and switch gears to politics on Tuesday and restart the business week on Wednesday," he said.

The demanding job of a county commissioner requires more hours than he thinks he can continue to give, he said.

"I do not want to short-change anybody," he said.

Schnebly, a Democrat, was elected to a four-year term in November 1998. All five commission seats are up for grabs in this year's election.

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"It has been a wonderful four years. It has been very satisfying," he said.

Schnebly previously served on the Hagerstown City Council. He was elected to the City Council in 1989, and served until his resignation in 1993. He had to resign from the council because of plans to move outside the city limits.

During his sole term as a county commissioner, the scope of the insurance business has expanded, Schnebly said. This occurred after the company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Frederick, Md.-based Farmers and Mechanics Bank in 1998.

The Hagerstown company's revenues have increased by 45 percent since the acquisition, he said.

Before 1998, most of the firm's clients were from Washington and Allegany counties, he said. Since then, the company has been taking on more clients from other Maryland counties, he said.

With the business growing, Schnebly said he does not see any possibility of seeking elected office in the near future.

Schnebly told the other commissioners and the county department heads of his decision on Monday.

County Administrator Rodney Shoop said he was surprised and disappointed.

"John is a very fair commissioner, that is highly respected not only by myself but by the entire staff in county government. It is a pleasure to work for him," Shoop said.

"I was really disappointed. I was hoping he would do it again," said Commission President Gregory I. Snook, a Republican. "He has been a good commissioner. He was very level-headed and used a lot of his business experience."

Snook filed for re-election Monday.

"John did an outstanding job as a commissioner," said Commissioner Bert L. Iseminger. "He brought common sense to the process. But I certainly understand his decision. The citizens will feel the loss of John, because he made good, wise, balanced decisions."

Iseminger, an Independent, said he will decide within the next week whether he will run to retain his seat.

"We have had our differences in the past but we have always kept it on a professional level. I wish him well," said Commissioner William J. Wivell, a Republican. "I thought he brought a lot to the board as far as his business and insurance background and that he has been a positive voice for moving the county forward."

Wivell has filed to run for a House of Delegates seat in northern Washington County.

Commissioner Paul L. Swartz, a Democrat, filed for re-election last fall.

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