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Bruchey II: The return

City Council appoints former mayor to fill vacant position

City Council appoints former mayor to fill vacant position

March 01, 2006|By DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

HAGERSTOWN - Former Republican Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II was appointed by the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday to serve as the city's next mayor.

"Thank you very much for your vote of confidence, and I promise I won't let you down, or the citizens of Hagerstown," Bruchey told council members after his appointment.

The council unanimously selected Bruchey, 47, of 904 Woodland Way, from a field of four applicants who were interviewed during a closed-door, executive session immediately before the council's voting session Tuesday night.

Bruchey, defeated as a write-in candidate in last spring's city elections, replaces former Republican Mayor Richard F. Trump, who resigned Feb. 1 citing irreconcilable differences with the all-Democratic, five-member council.

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Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said council members carefully considered each of the applicants before selecting the person "who ultimately will be the best mayor to lead this city and this council over the next 3 1/2 years."

Metzner said the decision was not an easy one, and he received several comments from people who thought one applicant or another deserved the appointment.

"Tonight's a big night for the city, this administration, the elected officials and the staff," Metzner said in his closing comments. "We have a mayor, we have leadership again at the helm."

The council voted Feb. 7 to open an application process to replace Trump. From a field of 14 applicants, the council narrowed the list to four. The council interviewed each of them in 30-minute blocks Tuesday.

In addition to Bruchey, the council interviewed program manager Jeffrey M. Coney, retired insurance agent Ann Holtzman and former City Councilwoman Carol N. Moller.

Bruchey said he knows the city is facing several pressing issues. He said he believes public safety is of "great concern." He also said while he was labeled a pro-growth candidate, he believes the city can embrace growth but must make developers pay for public improvements to make up for the impact of their development projects.

Bruchey, who served as mayor from 1997-2001, sat with his wife, Susan, during the meeting, and had his arm around her shoulder as the council approved his appointment as mayor. After the meeting, Susan Bruchey said she supported her husband's desire to seek the appointment.

"I'm very proud of him, and I know this is what he wanted," she said.

Bruchey, a salesman at Hagerstown Ford who was endorsed for the appointment by the Central Maryland AFL-CIO Council, is scheduled to be sworn in as mayor today. His schedule appears to be filling up quickly.

He volunteered Tuesday night to accompany City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman and Planning Director Kathleen A. Maher to Annapolis on Thursday to voice opposition to a state annexation planning and procedure act which Maher said threatens to strip away municipalities' rights to control their own annexation and planning policies.

He has also indicated he is willing to take part in the city's State of the City address next Tuesday.

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