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Online chat with Mayor Bruchey

December 03, 2006

Editor's note: On Tuesday, Nov. 28, The Herald-Mail held a live chat with Mayor Robert Bruchey II. An edited transcript of that chat follows.

If you would like to suggest a guest for a future chat, e-mail the person's name to onlinechat@herald-Mail.com.




Victor:Our town is growing, as we all know. We're making the city look great with new housing but our city needs to make the pay rates higher for the blue-collar worker because $300 a week just does not get it done. I believe if pay rates went up, our city would grow to be a great city. But if they don't, our city will have two types of households: Those who have and those who do not have. There will be no middle class. This town was never like that before, but now it is.

Mayor Robert Bruchey II: Do we need higher-paying jobs in Washington County? Sure! The ability to attract higher-paying jobs is in direct correlation to higher education. We are progressing in the field of higher education and with the help of the Economic Development Commission, our goal is to recruit high-tech jobs in Washington County. Continued education is the key to higher-paying jobs, even in the blue-collar sector.

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Roscoe: The Christmas tree in Public Square looks horrible. I hope you didn't have to pay someone for that. Can you do something to make our tree a little more respectable looking? It is shameful to have such an ugly tree representing our city. Charlie Brown's tree doesn't belong in the middle of Hagerstown.

Bruchey: I can remember a time when a beautiful tree stood in the center of the square, a time when people didn't take ornaments and lights off of the tree. Unfortunately, those days are gone. We try to make downtown as festive as possible and still stay within a budget. If anyone would like to donate decorations for the tree, please feel free to call my office. Thank you.




Sam: Mayor Bob, thank you for joining us. My question is one that has been troubling local citizens for the past year. What can we do to keep these drug-running criminals from New York off our city streets? Drugs, murders of innocent civilians, and shootings are becoming more commonplace in our city because of this New York influence. I personally have asked you and several other local politicians what can be done and you all seem to have the same answer: "Nothing, it's a state problem. We can't keep them out." How many Hagerstown citizens are going to be shot and killed before you or someone else goes to Annapolis or the federal government to seek some help?

Bruchey: We have sought help from Annapolis and we are looking forward to this session to help us with this problem. In America, people have a right to live where they choose. That being said, it is my desire to send parolees back to the jurisdictions from which they came. Unfortunately, those New Yorkers who are arrested here for drug or violent crimes are sentenced in Washington County, and so sending them back to the jurisdiction in which they are sentenced does not work. We must institute legislation that returns those convicted in Washington County back to their home address.




Mr. Fulmor: Mr. mayor You seem to be one of the only local politicians who is smart enough and technologically savvy enough to keep up with your constituents through The Herald- Mail forums and everyone appreciates your candor and helpfulness there. A member recently stated that you publicly said that "you read it but don't post there. There's only 10 or 12 people that read that." Why would you say such a thing when a lot of the people there have looked to you for guidance and help and helped you spread your message when needed? It almost feels insulting that you would dismiss such a large group of people like that.

Bruchey: I believe I explained myself in the forums. My statements were not meant to be disrespectful to anybody who frequents The Herald-Mail forums. It was said mainly to have the people in that meeting understand that we fail to get the people the information they need.




Kris: Is it true that you are happy Mr. Aleshire is moving on to the county position and will be out of your hair?

Bruchey: I wish Mr. Aleshire much success at his new county position. The city's loss is also the city's gain. Having someone with intimate knowledge of city government at the county level can only help the city of Hagerstown accomplish what needs to be accomplished.




Moderator: Aside from having some different members of the council, how has this term differed from your first one so far?

Bruchey: The transition into the mayor's office was smooth. The learning curve was much shorter. I have kept up the past four years with much of what is happening in the city, and I feel that I am more mature and have a better understanding of where the city needs to go. I have very good relationships with department managers and employees, and this allows me to get things accomplished at a much faster pace.




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