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Mayor and council clash at meeting

September 07, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN

andrews@herald-mail.com

Conflict between the mayor and Hagerstown City Council surfaced again at the start of Tuesday's council meeting.

"God has put together a unique group of people here," Mayor Richard F. Trump said as he launched into a pep speech.

He said the council's "five independent thinkers" need to work together for the good of the city.

"I want to ask you each individually: Are we ready to lead?" he said.

He repeated the same question around the table, one person at a time.

"Councilman Cromer, are you ready to lead?" he asked.

"Dick, I do work with everyone else," Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer replied.

"Councilman Nigh, are you ready to lead?" he asked.

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"That's what I've done for the last four years," Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh replied.

"Councilman Parson, are you ready to lead?" he asked.

"I am here to serve my city, and working with this team is an honor for me," Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean replied.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire answered Trump's question with his own.

"Is there something in particular that you want us to lead on?" Aleshire asked.

Trump and Aleshire went back and forth before Trump said, "Please don't be argumentative."

Councilman Lewis C. Metzner answered Trump's question with disgust.

"I appreciate the pep talk, but really we don't need it," Metzner said. "We're all grown adults."

"But we're having votes that are knocking down the citizens," Trump said.

"If you're looking for 5-0 votes, you're in the wrong place," Metzner said.

Metzner said being asked if he's "now" ready to lead implies that he wasn't previously.

"OK, can I have a hug later on?" Trump asked when Metzner was through.

Trump and the council have clashed since he and two new council members took office in May.

Cromer and Trump argued at a meeting the day after they were sworn in.

In July, Cromer and Nigh blasted Trump for a letter he sent the state about Washington County Hospital. In an Internet chat forum, Cromer later accused Trump of lying to the public.

At the end of Tuesday's meeting, Parson-McBean told Trump she'd had enough of his "inappropriate comments."

She said she takes her position as the first black person ever on Hagerstown's City Council "with great pride."

"I don't take it lightly," she continued. "I don't scare easily and I will be here."

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