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Council recruits for open position

November 15, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

HAGERSTOWN - In opening the application process to fill a pending vacancy on the Hagerstown City Council, the sitting board encouraged qualified people to apply for what one councilwoman said can be nearly a full-time job.

Kelly S. Cromer thanked Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire for his six years of service as he transitions into the Washington County Commissioners seat he won in the Nov. 7 general election.

Aleshire's opinions about the candidates to fill his vacancy will be sought on a personal level, but he will not vote on the replacement, council members said at their work session Tuesday.

Applications are available in the city clerk's office and should be submitted there by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27.

Proof of age (at least 21 years old) and of the past year's residency in the City of Hagerstown also must be provided by that deadline.

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Resumes and letters of interest are optional.

"What we need to know more than anything is who wants this job," Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said. He urged the council to make the application process comparable to the one for elected members, saying that with the mayor "we now become a five-person electorate."

Applicants, who must have been a registered Democrat for at least one year, will be required to identify themselves during a Dec. 5 public meeting. They will be given the opportunity to answer interview-style questions from the council at that time.

"I think it's important for our viewers to see the candidates," Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean said.

Although in favor of the question-and-answer aspect of the Dec. 5 meeting, she encouraged the council to make it optional for the comfort of candidates who might be shy.

"There are so many leadership styles out there," Parson-McBean said.

Applicants will be interviewed by the council in executive session Dec. 12.

"In the last two city council appointments, this was the methodology used," Metzner said.

The council plans to have Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II administer the oath of office to the new member Dec. 19. It reserves the right to dismiss applications deemed to be an intentional mockery of the position.

Cromer said she feels the process should be expedited to allow Aleshire to vote for the replacement. However, the city attorney's opinion was that he should not be permitted to do so.

"How can you fill a vacancy that doesn't exist?" Metzner asked rhetorically, agreeing with the city attorney.

"The people that should vote on his replacement should be the city council, not someone on his way out," Metzner said.

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