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Baby makes Hancock's manager miss first day

July 14, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

HANCOCK

marlob@herald-mail.com

David D. Smith was to begin his duties as Hancock town manager July 1, but he didn't show up for work on his first day.

Smith was at Washington County Hospital, where his wife, Gretchen, was giving birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Alexandra.

"I was in touch with the office during the day," Smith said, smiling broadly about both his new job and his daughter.

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Formerly a council member in his second four-year term, Smith resigned from that elected post to accept the town manager job. A replacement will be appointed to finish out his term.

"I'm seeing things from a different view now," Smith said. "But it's a natural progression for me, because I am a hands-on person."

Smith said it wasn't appropriate for him as a council member to tell town employees what to do, since that would destroy the chain of command.

"I worried I was abandoning my responsibility. I'm not walking away, but moving into a new position," Smith said.

Smith, 36, sees the job of town manager as a policy implementer.

"I feel I have the support of the mayor and council and that's very important," he said. "I'll be trying to get the most for the town's money."

A graduate of Hancock Middle-Senior High School, Smith continued his education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

He began there in the mechanical engineering department but later transferred to political science. Smith said he was president of the student body for two years.

Smith has worked as a self-employed contractor and a jewelry store owner. He still has a few contracting jobs that he is finishing.

Smith said he realizes that running a town the size of Hancock is a big responsibility.

"We have a great staff and really good help in the office," he said.

The police department, which recently hired a new chief, Steve McCarty, is tops, according to Smith.

"Steve is 100 percent professional, and it's contagious," Smith said.

As he familiarizes himself with the job, Smith said he knows he wants to spend as much time out and about in the town as possible. Cell phones will keep him connected to the town hall at all times.

"I walk the main street at least once a week," Smith said. "People can approach me ... I'm a people person."

He said he plans to set aside time to be in his office so people can come in and talk things over with him.

Smith said he goes out with water crews and plans to do the same in the winter with the snow removal efforts in town.

"I don't fit into a mold," Smith said. "I'm making this job my own."

For more information on Hancock town business, call 301-678-5622.

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