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Breichner seeks second term as mayor

February 15, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - William M. Breichner is proud of the city-run water plant near Smithsburg that bears his name, but he said he hopes he'll get another opportunity to leave more lasting impressions as a local politician.

Breichner, a Democrat, is a candidate running for his second term as mayor of the City of Hagerstown.

Breichner, 73, of 1117 Oak Hill Ave., is married to Gann. The two have daughters Dian Brewer and Patricia Breichner, and a son, William Breichner Jr.

Breichner graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1950 and joined the U.S. Navy. After leaving the Navy in 1954, he worked in the billing department of a local trucking company, and in 1956 took his first job with the City of Hagerstown as a draftsman in the water department.

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He became superintendent of the water department in the late 1960s, and in 1983, became city administrator.

He retired in 1987, and worked as a private consultant for a municipal water supply company, but ran for City Council in 1989 and won. He was elected two more times to council and then in 2001 was elected mayor.

Breichner said that he feels a "certain amount of satisfaction" in the contributions he's made to the city over the past 48 years, and he wants to continue doing so.

Breichner said that over the past four years his biggest personal achievement is the guidance he's given in connection with the Bowman Development Corp. redevelopment project on South Potomac Street, which he said will be a catalyst for further development in downtown Hagerstown.

The project involved the city's purchase of a building that held the Double T Lounge, which he said "had a reputation of being a very rough bar," the transfer of that building to Bowman and the acceptance of some of Bowman's land for a five-story parking deck, on which construction is set to begin soon.

"There was a lot of politics that had to be played to keep that project on track," Breichner said, and its success requires "making sure what's being developed is something the council can accept." The City Council has authority over portions of the project, and the mayor cannot vote.

Breichner said his biggest failure over the past four years was not making more strides in changing what he called a culture of distrust between city and county government, despite continued meetings with county officials, including monthly one-on-one lunches with County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook.

"As individuals, I think we have a great relationship, but as a government, I think there's still a lot to be done," Breichner said.

The other official candidates for mayor are: Charlie Baker, Robert E. Bruchey II, Anthony "Tony" T. Campello Jr., and Richard F. Trump.

The mayor is paid $28,000 a year and is eligible for city health benefits.

The primary election is March 8. The general election is May 17.

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