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Petrucci ready to 'move forward' in Berkeley County

November 06, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After a six-year hiatus, a Democrat will hold a seat on the Berkeley County Commission.

Anthony J. "Tony" Petrucci's unofficial 15 percentage point lead over incumbent Republican Steven C. Teufel will not be erased in ballot canvassing next week.

"I'm just ready to move forward," Petrucci said Wednesday. "Now, the real meat and potatoes work will start. I'm looking forward to it."

Petrucci, 48, is expected to take the oath of office in January to begin a six-year term on the governing board responsible for balancing the county's budget and oversight of a number of day-to-day operations, including planning and engineering departments and emergency management.

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Heading into Tuesday's vote, Teufel, 49, said he expected a tight race, and admitted the margin between the candidates on election night - more than 5,000 votes - was surprising.

"There's been of lot of successes," Teufel said of his six years on the commission.

Teufel mentioned the passage of the county's stormwater management ordinance, construction of the new judicial center and relocation of some county offices to the rehabilitated Dunn building as some of the larger accomplishments.

Teufel said he was particularly proud that he voted to allow county residents to decide two ballot questions this year, one overwhelmingly defeated, followed by Tuesday's equally overwhelming vote in favor of reforming the county commission.

Teufel said he didn't think increasing the county commission to five members by January 2011 "had a chance" after voters in the May primary voted 2-1 against zoning.

"I was shocked," said Teufel, who in 2002 ran on a platform that included allowing the reformation question to be decided by the voters.

"I think it speaks volumes for the people," Teufel said of the unofficial tally of 22,975 ballots cast in favor of increasing the commission from three members. Only 33.4 percent or 11,571 people voted against changing the commission to a county council.

Petrucci said he voted for the reformation and believes residents were looking for more leadership in an increasingly populated county.

"I think people are more at ease with five," Petrucci said. "I think it just shows the people of Berkeley County are ready to move forward."

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