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Hard to say goodbye

November 29, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook planned what he wanted to say as he readied to strike the gavel one last time.

But tears came instead of comments, making Snook unable to read his remarks.

"I'm sorry ... I'll just have to read it later," an emotional Snook said Tuesday. "Thank you very much. Meeting adjourned."

The action marked Snook's last meeting as a County Commissioner, after 16 years on the board. He announced in July that he would not seek a fifth term, saying it was time for transition.

When the new board of commissioners is sworn in next Tuesday, it will be the first time since 1974 - except for a 21-month period in the late 1980s to early 1990s - that a Snook has not served as a commissioner. Snook's father, Martin L. Snook, was a commissioner from 1974 until his death in March 1989.

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Commissioners Doris J. Nipps and John C. Munson also met for the final time Tuesday. Both were defeated in the latest election after serving four-year terms.

The new board, consisting of incumbent Commissioners William J. Wivell and James F. Kercheval, and Kristin B. Aleshire, John F. Barr and Terry Baker, will be sworn in next Tuesday.

Following the meeting, county staff held an open house for the outgoing commissioners. All received engraved clocks.

Munson said he plans to travel the country in his recreational vehicle over the next four years, and then will run again for commissioner. He was pleased that the commissioners didn't raise the property tax rate during his term and said he enjoyed his job.

"I never thought that I'd lose, because I tried to protect the public and keep taxes down," Munson said.

County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop credited Munson with being persistent in making sure the commissioners stepped up funding for road improvements.

Nipps, who spent eight years on the Board of Education before being elected commissioner, said she enjoyed working with the commissioners and county staff members.

"I made some really good friends," she said.

She'll remain active on various boards, but she doesn't think she'll run again for office, she said.

"I have no plans to do that," Nipps said. "I need a private life after 12 years of being in the newspaper."

Snook tried again at the open house to make his address, but the emotion again took over.

"Thank you. Maybe later," was all he could say at the time.

"I had a whole speech prepared, but it's tough to put it in words," Snook said later.

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