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Brubaker gets council nod

December 07, 2006

Judging by his recent service to Hagerstown and Washington County, Martin Brubaker seems like an excellent choice to replace Kristin Aleshire on the Hagerstown City Council.

However, given the process the council followed, Brubaker's selection seems more like a lucky accident than the result of a well-thought-out process.

This City Charter is partly to blame; its only requirement is that the replacement candidate must have been a member of the same party as the person being replaced for at least a year.

Beyond that, the council is free to choose. Past councils interviewed candidates in public, but the current council at first opted for a mix of public and private interviews. The council said there might be some questions applicants might not want to answer in public, about family and employment.

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In our view, if candidates aren't ready for the tough questions, they shouldn't seek office. The council should put together a better, more public process and begin work to amend the charter.

Ironically, the council did not end up doing any private interviews. If they weren't needed this time, let's enshrine that in the charter.

As for Brubaker, his appointment will give the council some of the expertise in planning skills lost when Aleshire was elected a Washington County Commissioner.

Not only has Brubaker served on the Hagerstown Planning Commission since February 2004, but has also worked on the Washington County Water and Sewer Infrastructure Commission, Washington County Housing Task Force and Central Chemical Super-Fund Citizen Oversight Committee.

Service on citizen boards is good training for elected office, because appointees see how politics can impede or promote progress.

Congratulations to Brubaker and the members who acknowledged the council needed his skills and his willingness to work.

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