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Cromer to participate in council meetings

October 11, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown City Councilwoman Kelly S. Cromer, recuperating from neck surgery, sat out only one vote during a meeting in which her colleagues agreed to suspend rules requiring that she be present to participate.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II led a countdown to synchronize the council's live broadcast of a special session Tuesday, then said into a speaker phone, "Hey, we're live. Are you there, Kelly?"

In a voice as clear as if she were in the room, Cromer answered, "Yes." She was scheduled to have had neck surgery Oct. 5 at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Cromer abstained from a unanimous vote suspending a portion of the council's rules of procedures. According to the measure, Cromer may participate and vote in meetings by speaker phone from Tuesday through Nov. 30. Her involvement cannot be counted toward a quorum, the number of council members required to be present for a meeting to proceed.

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In an interview Oct. 2, Cromer told The Herald-Mail that doctors planned to replace three herniated discs in her neck with discs from a cadaver. They also planned to put in a steel plate.

During Tuesday's special session and work session, Cromer frequently asked questions during presentations. On several occasions, Bruchey asked her whether she had any comments before the discussion wrapped up.

In her comments at the end of the work session, Cromer explained that the phone setup required no extra tax money. She watched the meeting on her television and used her cell phone to talk. She thanked family, friends and community members who have supported her since the surgery, and she asked forgiveness for my "ramblings and slow thought process."

Bruchey quipped that he was used to that.

After the meeting, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner joked that the council should have allowed Cromer to vote, but exempted her from making closing comments.

Cromer said she was grateful to the people who helped set up the over-the-phone meeting.

"I wanted to stay connected to my responsibilities and to my duties as a council person," Cromer said.

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