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Change is theme for challengers in election campaign

January 27, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

While new candidates for the Hancock Town Council are calling for change in the way the government operates, most of the incumbents say they're pleased with the town's progress and would like to see it continue.

In Monday's town election, incumbent Mayor Daniel A. Murphy, 50, will run against Councilman Darwin T. Mills, 61. Councilmen Randy Pittman and David D. Smith are facing challenges from Franklin Courtney and William T. Mills.

The election will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Hancock Town Hall, 126 West High St.

The mayor serves a two-year term, while the council term is four years.

Murphy, who has served six years as mayor, said the town has experienced a renaissance over the past several years. He said the Arts Council and Chamber of Commerce have been established, and there have been improvements to Main Street, the Rail Trail and various other recreational areas.

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Murphy, who served as a councilman for four years, said if re-elected he'd like to get more citizens involved with the community, help attract businesses and tourism to the town, continue to strengthen the police department and use tax dollars intelligently.

Murphy is a veterinarian in Hancock.

Mills, who has been on the council for six years, said he's running for mayor because he thinks it's time for a change of leadership. He wants to make government more accountable and hold the line on taxes.

Mills, a Hancock native, is a Maryland correctional officer and served as chief of the Hancock Police Department from 1974 to 1979. He was a Hancock police officer from 1964 to 1974.

Mills said he's been part of numerous town accomplishments, including improvements to the Kirkwood ball fields, street lighting and drainage and the resurfacing of West Main Street and Virginia Avenue.

Mills said he'd like to closely monitor town purchases and out-of-town expenses, bring more tourism, business and industry to the town and improve water distribution.

Pittman, 59, and Smith, 33, are each seeking their second term on the council.

Pittman, owner of Weaver's Restaurant and Pittman's Liquor, said he's running for re-election because he enjoys the position and wants to make a difference in the community. He said the Town Council has met several of its goals by working as a team.

Pittman said he'd like to see a portion of the canal watered and improvements made to the Rail Trail entrance between Main Street and the business district.

Pittman has lived in Hancock since 1945.

Smith said he thinks the Rail Trail is going to be vital to the town's future and he would like to work with the Chamber of Commerce and Town Manager Larry Logan to help promote it. He said a well-promoted Rail Trail will attract tourists.

Smith said he would like to look for activities for the town's young people and continue to improve the town's water system.

He is self-employed and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County where he studied mechanical engineering and political science.

Courtney, 64, said he's running because other residents asked him to. He said he'd like to see wasteful spending curbed, which would help hold the line on taxes.

The Hancock native said he would like to see improvements to the town's water distribution, better lighting and more economic growth.

Courtney retired in 1993 after working 30 years for Mack Trucks Inc. in Hagerstown. He owned Courtney's Florist on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hancock with his wife, Mildred.

William Mills, the son of Darwin Mills, said he's running to be a guardian of the taxpayers' money.

"I am aware that some changes need to be made in town operations," Mills said in a written statement. "I am not being critical, but I believe I can bring about improvements to our town."

Mills, 31, is a lifelong resident of the town. He has worked at Garden State Tanning in Williamsport for nearly 14 years and is employed as an automobile technician.

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