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Planning commission vote splits council

September 13, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

Raised voices and sarcasm were the result of a motion Tuesday during a Hagerstown City Council meeting to appoint a new member to the city's Planning Commission.

During the meeting, a motion was made to appoint Thomas Immer to the Planning Commission to replace F. Christian Wright IV, who resigned July 6.

"I think we're rushing into something here," Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said after the motion was made.

She noted that four other applications were received.

"I have a large, large problem with this appointment," Nigh said, although she said later that she does not know Immer.

Nigh said she believes the city needs to do more to recruit more people to fill out applications to serve on the Planning Commission.

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"I know there are other people out there that I think are just as qualified as perhaps this individual," Nigh said. She did not offer any names.

When the vote on the motion was first made, Nigh voted "no," while Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer and Councilman Lewis C. Metzner voted "yes."

Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean was silent. Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire was absent.

Explaining her silence, Parson-McBean said she understood both sides of the issue.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II then said he'd "call the question" - or ask for a vote - again.

"Call it slowly 'cause I still haven't thought it through," Parson-McBean said.

Bruchey replied by rereading the motion slowly, carefully enunciating each word.

Parson-McBean then voted no, causing a 2-2 tie.

Bruchey broke the tie by voting in favor of the appointment.

"That's OK, 'cause I'm going to be the first one to scream," Nigh said after Bruchey's tie-breaking vote.

Immer is a retired businessman who was one of more than a dozen people who applied in February to be mayor after former Mayor Richard F. Trump resigned. Bruchey was appointed mayor.

Immer's term will end May 30, 2007.

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