Mills immediately put to work as Smithsburg council member

March 03, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

The Smithsburg Town Council on Tuesday evening named William Mills to replace Councilman James LaFemina, who resigned unexpectedly last month.

In a matter of minutes, Mills went from his seat in the audience to the front of the room to be sworn in, then to his new spot at the council table.

LaFemina abruptly resigned about one hour before the Feb. 3 Smithsburg Town Council meeting, Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said Tuesday. Myers said she declined to release information on the resignation at that meeting and in a subsequent interview because she wanted to tell the other council members.

Myers said she suspected LaFemina was thinking about resigning because of his job in Washington, D.C., but she was surprised by the timing.


LaFemina, who missed several meetings in recent months, was elected to a four-year term in May 2002.

LaFemina said he took a job as a speechwriter for the Treasury Department last summer.

He said balancing the job in Washington and his role on the council and spending adequate time with his family was becoming difficult, especially because of the long commute.

"I'm really enjoying what I do. It's a great career and I wouldn't want to change it," LaFemina said Tuesday evening.

LaFemina said he and his family will move to Bowie, Md., to alleviate the commute. Although he may remain a Smithsburg resident for several more weeks or months, LaFemina said he wanted the council members to be able to address important issues without worrying about his attendance.

"I felt by being in Washington, it could be keeping them from voting on issues that needed to be addressed," LaFemina said.

After the council voted unanimously to add Mills, Mayor "Mildred" Mickey Myers swore him in. Mills, who will serve the remaining two years of LaFemina's term, then sat in at his first council meeting as an official member.

"We swear him in and put him to work right away," Myers said.

Mills, who in January declared himself eligible for the upcoming council election, has recused himself from that race, she said.

Myers said she initially wanted to wait until after council elections to appoint LaFemina's replacement, but the other council members swayed her. She said council members unanimously suggested Mills as the replacement.

She said Mills' interest in running for an open position and the fact that he was first to file as a candidate were factors in the decision.

Mills, a seven-year resident of Smithsburg, said he was shocked when he was invited to join the council to finish LaFemina's term, which expires in 2006.

"I'm just glad to be serving," Mills said. "At this stage of my life, I felt like it was time to give something back."

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