City Council briefs

June 06, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

Hospital's status concerns councilman

Hagerstown City Councilman Lewis Metzner said during Tuesday's meeting that he hopes the city encourages Washington County Hospital to quickly resolve a labor situation that led the hospital to suspend trauma care.

The hospital announced last week it was closing its trauma center, effective June 1.

"The trauma center closing is a very negative thing for the community," Metzner said.

Hospital President and Chief Executive Officer James P. Hamill has said the hospital decided to give up the trauma designation because it can no longer promise 24-hour coverage for trauma surgery, a prerequisite for the hospital's level of trauma care.

Metzner said he has noticed a recent increase in the number of helicopters in the area, which are being used to take patients to other hospitals.

Bethesda attorney aids city with legal matters

The city of Hagerstown has started using an outside legal counsel to assist with negotiations with four union groups representing city employees, Mayor William M. Breichner said Tuesday.


The city has used the attorney, Richard G. Vernon, of Bethesda, Md., in the past for other legal matters, Breichner said.

The council met in executive session Tuesday to conduct collective bargaining negotiations or consider matters that relate to the negotiations.

All four union groups representing city workers need new labor contracts for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

About 300 of the city's 460 employees are represented by unions, city officials said.

The state Open Meetings Act allows the mayor and council to negotiate with employee unions in closed-door sessions.

Council grants approval for park improvements

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday gave general approval for planned improvements to the Spanish-American War Cannon Park and for renaming it Bloom Park after the man who was the driving force behind its creation.

The park at North Potomac Street and North Avenue is about .4 of an acre, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said.

Proposed improvements include replacing a fence, rebuilding a stone wall, building a Disabled American Veterans monument and other changes.

The Broadway North Neighborhoods First Group requested the improvements.

Tissue said the council will vote on the contract for the improvements in August.

He estimated park improvements would cost $65,000 and storm drain improvements would cost $45,000. Money for the changes is already budgeted, he said.

The park was dedicated in 1901 on land dedicated by S. Martin Bloom.

Tissue described the park as "an underpublicized historic attraction."

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