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Aleshire's council spot open

November 09, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council hopes to fill the seat vacated by councilman Kristin B. Aleshire by December, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said Wednesday.

Aleshire finished fifth Tuesday in a 10-candidate race for five seats on the Washington County Commissioners. If he stays in the top five after absentee ballots are counted today, Aleshire will need to resign from the city council.

The council hopes to have Aleshire's spot filled before the new county commissioners are sworn in Dec. 5, Bruchey said.

Aleshire is in the second year of his second, four-year term on the city council.

Whoever replaces Aleshire, a Democrat, will have to be a member of the same party, according to city code.

Section 515 of the city charter, titled "Vacancies," states: "In case of a vacancy on the council or in the office of mayor for any reason, the council shall elect some qualified person to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. Any vacancies shall be filled by council duly recorded in the minutes of the council. The person so appointed to fill the vacancy of either the mayor or councilmember shall be one who for more than one year was affiliated with the same political party as the one vacating the office."

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Bruchey said he would like to set Nov. 21 as the deadline for applications to leave enough time to review applicants before the county commissioners are sworn in.

When the city council accepted applications for the mayor's post earlier this year, the council set a cutoff date for receiving applications, Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh said. She did not have a timeline in mind for filling Aleshire's spot, Nigh said.

"It's what majority wants," she said.

The city code does not specify what process the council uses to determine the next councilmember, but a timeline will probably be put in place within a week, clerk Donna K. Spickler said. When a new mayor had to be appointed in February, the council accepted rsums and applications before making a decision, Spickler said.

The last time a council member was replaced was in 1994, Bruchey said. Fred Kramer was appointed to the council Feb. 28, 1994, to fill a vacancy left by the death of Robert R. "Red" Smith, who died Dec. 3, 1993. Councilman Lewis C. Metzner was appointed in October 1994 to replace John L. Schnebly, who moved out of the city, creating a vacancy.

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