Then, after the press run was complete, the commissioners' secretary brought in copies of the paper. Then as now, many people didn't realize that reporters don't write the headlines on their stories. I would take the heat when an editor wrote one that didn't suit the elected officials.
Sometimes finding someone to quote was tough. There was no administrator then, just the county clerk, and only on Tuesday did department heads come in to update the commissioners on what had happened in the last week.
In those days, the lack of other pressing business allowed the commissioners time to debate the merits of many different small issues, including the design of drainage ditches and whether hurricane straps should be required on mobile homes.
At day's end, the commissioners adjourned, began to put on their coats and the reporters crowded around to ask questions.
To their credit, subsequent county boards have continued to allow questions from the floor.
But there have been other changes. The county now has an administrator and although department heads report, they come when they have a project that the commissioners need an update on and not as a matter of routine.
The commissioners still meet as a group one day a week, which some have suggested isn't enough, given the complexity of the issues they face. On the other side, county staff has grown to the point where elected shouldn't have to approve, as they did Tuesday, the donation of an old sheriff's cruiser to the City of Hagerstown's Fire Police.
Tuesday's meeting, held at the administration building on Lee Street, was different from the meetings I covered way back when. Instead of the commissioners commenting on potholes that needed repair or streetlights that were burned out, most reports were from other meetings the individual commissioners had attended.
A few of the topics covered included:
Commissioner James Kercheval's reported that the group working on the revitalization of downtown Hagerstown has decided that one of its objectives will be to create or attract a "destination attraction."
Just what that might be is unknown now, although a museum would certainly drive foot traffic there.
Kercheval also said that the Planning Commission, on which he sits, is beginning to look at how to allocate school capacity to developers when new or renovated schools are opened.
Commissioner John Munson reported that the firefighters' group that ran a large bonanza last year at the Hagerstown Speedway is looking at the county's Ag Center for another such event. County policies on gaming and alcohol use will be reviewed, he said.
Commissioners President Greg Snook said that local medical examiners, who handle 60 to 70 cases per year, would like fees increased from $65 to $80 per visit. After hearing that such calls can sometimes take four hours, the board okayed the change.
Water Quality Director Greg Murray and his staff showed samples of a material that will be used to reline sewer pipes to prevent groundwater from entering them and increasing the load on the treatment plants.
The big bonus: Except where pipes have collapsed, there won't be any street excavations.
I'll be attending more meetings of local elected bodies in the months to come and sharing some of what I learn.
Bob Maginnis is Opinion Page editor of The Herald-Mail.