Council hopefuls talk about layoffs

February 21, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The number of Democrats running for the Hagerstown City Council will be narrowed to five from a field of nine in the March 10 primary election.

The winners will face off in the May 19 general election against four Republicans and one unaffiliated candidate.

There will not be an election among the Republican council candidates March 10 because at least five GOP candidates did not file to run.

It still is important, however, for registered Republicans to turn out to vote for one of three GOP mayoral candidates, said Kaye Robucci, deputy director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

"There are very important races for both the Democratic and Republican voters to vote for during the primary," Robucci said.

All five council incumbents -- Martin E. Brubaker, Kelly S. Cromer, Lewis C. Metzner, Penny M. Nigh and Alesia D. Parson-McBean -- will run against R. Noel Brady, William M. Breichner, David A. Lidz and Joseph A. Marschner in the Democratic primary.


Patrick N. Crist, Forrest W. Easton, Jeremy L. Manford and Don Mohar are the Republican candidates. Also seeking office is unaffiliated candidate Ashley C. Haywood.

The winning candidates will take office June 1, said Donna Spickler, clerk for the City of Hagerstown.

Each council member earns $8,000 per year.

With the City of Hagerstown's primary election approaching, The Herald-Mail asked each of the 14 candidates for City Council to respond to four questions.

The candidates' answers to the third question can be found on page A3 of today's edition. Their answers to the final question will be published March 1. Responses to the first two questions were published Feb. 8 and 15.

This week's question is: Would you support furloughing or laying off municipal employees to save the city money?

Coming Monday: Candidates for mayor respond to this week's question.

The Feb. 8 question was: What is the biggest problem facing the city of Hagerstown and, if elected, what will you do to solve it?

The Feb. 15 question was: How will you try to bring jobs to the City of Hagerstown?

Next week's question: Do you believe that the current administration has neglected other parts of the city by focusing too heavily on developing the first block of South Potomac Street?

Editor's note: The following is the third of four questions that candidates for Hagerstown City Council were asked to answer, followed by their responses.

Candidates were asked to keep their responses to 150 words or less. Responses were edited for length and to fix typos or errors. Otherwise, they appear as they were received from the candidates.

Q: Would you support furloughing or laying off municipal employees to save the city money?


R. Noel Brady, 68


40 E. Antietam St.

When city employees retire, do not fill their positions. Transfer personnel from another department to fill the vacancy. If layoffs are necessary, lay off part-time employees first, then see if any of the employees would be willing to take early retirement, and the last option would be to lay off the employees.

William M. Breichner, 77


1117 Oak Hill Ave.

Keeping in mind that the balk of City employees fall into two critical categories, public safety and public utilities.

Public safety involves our police and fire departments and are of critical importance to all of our citizens. It would not be prudent to furlough employees in this area.

Our public utilities, water, sewer and electric, also have a responsibility for the health and safety of the customers they serve. The city would not save money in this area since they must operate strictly on their income for service and receive no tax dollars from the general fund.

I do not support furloughing employees. If necessary, I would first propose a hiring freeze and require a review of any position that may be requested before replacing. Should it be necessary, I would then propose to eliminate budgeted items, such as consulting fees and require said work to be accomplished in-house.

Martin E. Brubaker, 62

Democrat, Incumbent

183 Brynwood St.

Public employees are facing furloughs, layoffs and other measures in communities that are over-extended financially. However, Hagerstown remains in a sound financial condition going into FY 2010. Thus, drastic and disruptive measures to cut employees or their hours are not appropriate at the moment. However, the City government needs to manage vacant positions carefully and be even more cautious with expenditures generally. We maintain a rainy-day fund more than adequate for short-term unexpected events.

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