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Bruchey talks candidly about the city's issues

March 12, 2006|By DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

Question: "Why did you want to be mayor?"

Bruchey: "I've got a great love for the City of Hagerstown. I was born and raised here. My dad was a city police officer for 26 years. We've all been around the area and watched it grow. I felt that I have something to offer, that could make other people's lives better, and hopefully keep the city of Hagerstown going in a positive direction, which means that people will want to stay here and raise their families. I want my kids' kids to be here. I believe that my term from 1997 to 2001 was an indication of how well I could do that. That's why I ran again last year. I feel I have something to offer."

Question: "Is the relationship between you and the council a concern?"

Bruchey: "I don't see it as a concern. I've known Lew (Metzner) for a long time, and I've known, not Kelly Cromer, but I've known her husband Steve for probably 25 years. Penny (Nigh), I've known her for about 9 or 10 years. Kristin (Aleshire) will be new for me, to have someone as intelligent as he is, especially when it comes to zoning and things like that. I'll defer to him to get some of the answers, and hopefully he could ask my help in some of the issues he may not fully understand. I believe we'll have a good relationship also. Alesia (Parson McBean), I've known her probably since '98, '99, so I've known her for a couple of years also, her and her mother and her father. I believe we'll just . . . you know, it's not hard to get along with people. We just need to use some of our people skills."

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Question: "How will you lead an all-Democratic council?"

Bruchey: "You know, people like to use the Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal. In city government, especially government at this level, where the citizens are so close to the government, there's no room for Democrats and Republicans. Once you're elected to that office, and you've got to work with each other, you've all got to be cut of the same cloth and wrap your mind around the same things. I believe that we'll be able to do that without any problem. Again, my goal for the next three years and four months is to help lead the city in a positive direction with the council."

Question: "Do you think the public questions the credibility of the council?"

Bruchey: "I don't see credibility of the council as the question. I think the real question has always been 'Why do we have some of the problems that we have?' I think they all have their strengths, and I believe that a good leader should be able to use those strengths to move the city forward. I believe that I have that ability, to work with them and to pull from their strengths, and we will have a great three and a half years."

Question: "What is the most important issue facing the city?"

Bruchey: "After our wage study from Tuesday night - public safety - people want to talk about growth, they want to talk about schools, overcrowding in schools, they want to talk about all those things, and that's fine, because we have to deal with them as singular issues.

"Public safety as a whole - we need 18 firefighters, eight police officers, we need to do something about EMS, and hopefully find a solution to get our residents faster response times for medical treatment. I honestly believe that's probably our No. 1 concern currently.

"Now, the next concern is how we pay for that. That's where the budget comes into play, and trying to find savings in other areas to help. Growth is an issue, there's no doubt about it. I believe that we need to grow, but we need to grow responsibly, so that is why, with our APFO that we're joining in with the county, it will allow us to do that."

Question: "What is your position on the hospital's plan to move to Robinwood?"

Bruchey: "My position has always been, and will continue to be, the best health care for the people in our area. Now, if that means that the hospital moves to Robinwood, then the hospital moves to Robinwood, if it's affordable. If it stays downtown, it stays downtown, and if it goes to the Allegheny Energy site, it goes to Allegheny Energy site. As long as it's done responsibly, as long as the city taxpayers do not pay for the upgrade of infrastructure, and as long as it's affordable for us as a city government, as well as a county government. Those are all things we have to look at, at the overall cost of it.

"Again, I said during my campaign, let's lead the decision, the decision is in the cities and it is in the counties, and actually, the decision at that point in time wasn't even a Washington County hospital issue, it was the State of Maryland. Once they came back with a certificate of need . . . I think we need to impress upon the hospital that we need to do something constructive with the site if they leave. But I don't - again, as long as the health care is A-No. 1 and affordable and easy access, I'm OK with that.

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