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Sharpsburg mayor steps down

Sharpsburg Vice Mayor Hal Spielman will become mayor when Sidney Gale's resignation becomes effective Feb. 28.

Sharpsburg Vice Mayor Hal Spielman will become mayor when Sidney Gale's resignation becomes effective Feb. 28.

February 04, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - A year after saying he'd try to become the first Sharpsburg mayor in almost a decade to serve a full term, Mayor Sidney Gale announced Monday night that he will resign, effective Feb. 28.

"I'm doing so because of time," Gale said at the Mayor and Town Council's regular monthly meeting at Town Hall.

"My kids are getting older and I don't want to miss their last years as teenagers," said Gale, who has two sons and a daughter. He is active in his sons' Scout troop and wants to start a coed Venture Crew for the troop so members' siblings can participate in the troop's outdoor experiences.

In a formal resignation letter to council members and the town, Gale said he was resigning for several reasons, "all of which are related to not having time to do the best job I can for the town."

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Gale's statement also said he has taken on more responsibility at work.

Gale, 54, is director of physician practices for Antietam Health Services Inc.

"We are expanding our services and locations and I need to work to make those businesses successful," Gale wrote.

Two of the town's last three mayors, George Kesler and Chris Yeager, resigned shortly before their first terms were to end. Ron Milburn, who became mayor upon Yeager's resignation, did not run for election.

Both Yeager and Milburn cited busy schedules for their decisions.

Once Gale's resignation becomes effective, Vice Mayor Hal Spielman automatically will become mayor. Gale said council members will appoint one of their own to become vice mayor.

Councilman Russ Weaver said he expects the council to appoint someone to fill the vacancy left on the council at the March 3 council meeting.

When there was a council vacancy in 2000, Gale asked that members of the community interested in the position contact him.

Weaver said council members will not issue such a request this time because they have already canvassed the community for interested parties.

"It's political, like anything else. We'll pick someone," Weaver said.

Gale became mayor in September 2000 after Kesler resigned for personal reasons just two months before the town election. Gale continued the job after being elected mayor in November 2000.

Approaching that election, Gale had said he wasn't sure he wanted to be mayor yet. But Town Council members asked him several times to reconsider and he did.

The council asked Gale to reconsider this time as well, Weaver said.

Gale said he told the council of his plans to resign during a closed session after their January meeting.

"You've done one heck of a job. We appreciate it," Weaver said. "We wish you well."

Gale said there was no truth to the rumor he was resigning because of his relationship with the council.

"I couldn't enjoy a hometown more than I enjoy Sharpsburg," Gale said.

Gale's family moved from Gaithersburg, Md., to Sharpsburg in 1990.

Two years later, he was helping town officials with various projects before being elected to the council in 1994. He was appointed vice mayor in January 1997.

In his letter, Gale said he thought there had been significant changes in the town and town government since he became involved in 1992. "I hope I have made a difference," he wrote.

Spielman became vice mayor in January 2001, filling a vacancy left when then-Vice Mayor Gale took over as mayor after Kesler resigned the post. Spielman ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 1992.

He was elected to council in November 1996 and re-elected in 2000. Because he was appointed vice mayor, Spielman had to run for re-election again in 2002.

Spielman, 53, of 114 E. Main St., is an agriculture teacher at Smithsburg High School.

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