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Only 9 qualify for post

February 20, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

HAGERSTOWN

daniels@herald-mail.com

At least five candidates seeking to become Hagerstown's mayor could be disqualified before the City Council reviews their applications.

A Washington County Board of Elections official said Thursday only nine of the 14 applicants to replace former Hagerstown Mayor Richard F. Trump live within the city limits and are eligible to vote in city elections.

Trump, 60, a Republican, resigned Feb. 1, citing irreconcilable differences with the council, an all-Democratic, five-member body.

Residents had until Wednesday to apply to become mayor.

City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said the council will meet in an executive session Tuesday to review the applications and determine which candidates to interview. Metzner said the council hasn't decided whether to hold public interviews.

According to the city charter, because Trump was a Republican, his replacement must be a Republican.

Each candidate signed a statement certifying "under the penalties of perjury that I meet the qualifications for the appointment of mayor: I am at least 25 years of age. I have resided in the City of Hagerstown for at least one year immediately preceding this application.

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"I am a qualified voter in the City of Hagerstown. I have for more than one year immediately preceding this application been affiliated with the Republican party."

Hagerstown City Clerk Donna J. Spickler said the board of elections told her that two candidates - Donald E. Day and Bharat Patel - did not meet the residency requirement. Kaye Robucci, an election deputy director for the board of elections, confirmed the information.

Day delayed



Day wrote on his application that he moved from Beaver Creek to Hagerstown on Oct. 31, 2005. He wrote that he would have moved into his Meridian Drive house a year ago if not for construction delays and asked the council to amend the city charter to waive the one-year residency requirement.

He said since he signed the form certifying "under the penalties of perjury" that he has lived in the city for the past year, he included the disclosure to make clear he did not, technically, qualify for mayor.

"Sure, that's why I put the caveat with the attachment," Day said in a phone interview.

Patel at motel



Patel, whose official name according to election board data is Bharatumar Jesangbhai Patel, listed his home address as 1801 Dual Highway, which is the address of Comfort Suites motel. According to the board of elections, his registered home address is 18221 Mason Dixon Road, which is outside the city limits and the address of Econo Lodge. Patel listed that address as his business address on his application for mayor.

Reached Thursday afternoon at Econo Lodge, Patel said he did not have time to talk. He did not return a call to The Herald-Mail. Another Econo Lodge employee said he was too busy to talk when called later in the day.

Robucci said the addresses of three other applicants fall outside city limits: Nathan A. Green of 17615 Homewood Road; Jessica Nanette Snyder of 18775 Diller Drive; and Darrell Robert McCammon of 1524 Howell Road.

Spickler said she was awaiting information from the board of elections to confirm their addresses are outside city limits.

Bikeman builder blunder



According to Washington County Circuit Court records, McCammon has pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of several misdemeanors. Last July, Hagerstown Police charged McCammon with stealing an officer's bicycle and helmet. Last week, he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count in that case. He is scheduled to be sentenced this month.

On his application, McCammon listed his name as Darrell "Bikeman" McCammon. He said he uses the nickname because he uses a bicycle to get around.

He disputed the election board's assertion that he does not live in the city. He said he believes the developer who built Howell Road misaligned it and that if it had been put down correctly his property would have been within the city limits. An official with the City of Hagerstown Planning Department was not aware of any alignment issues with the road.

Snyder's address



Snyder said she has a Hagerstown mailing address and the council will be depriving itself of "a great candidate" if it does not accept her application because she doesn't live within city limits.

Green and the charter



Green said he moved to his current address outside city limits within the past four months. He said he told the city clerk's office that he lived in Hagerstown for a full year before moving to Homewood Road. He said he shouldn't be disqualified, but he admitted that the city charter could be interpreted in a way to make him ineligible.

The board of elections confirmed that the other nine candidates live within the city limits and are registered and eligible to vote.

Of the nine, Ruth Ann Holtzman, Edward F. Hood II, Carol N. Moller, Robert E. Bruchey II and Walter W. Evans voted in the last city election. Paul H. Toothman voted by absentee ballot in the primary election, when he served as an election judge, but did not vote in the general election. Patrick "Dean" Holik, Thomas C. Immer and Jeffrey M. Coney did not vote in the last city election.

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