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Kercheval to become executive director of Greater Hagerstown Committee

Will begin new job after term as county commissioner ends

June 01, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Commissioner James F. Kercheval
File photo,

Washington County Commissioner James F. Kercheval has been chosen as the next executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

Kercheval will take over for Art Callaham, who is retiring after 12 years with the not-for-profit organization.

Callaham said Kercheval is scheduled to start his new job around Dec. 1, just after he completes his second term as a commissioner. He didn't file to run for a third term.

John League, the chairman of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, announced Kercheval's selection Tuesday.

League, the editor and publisher of The Herald-Mail, called Kercheval "a man of integrity."

"He certainly knows the community backward and forward ...," League said. "Jim doesn't divide people. He brings them together and that's what this community needs."

The Greater Hagerstown Committee is a group of community leaders that works privately on community issues. The committee, which formed in 1987, described itself in a news release as an organization "dedicated to supporting positive change within its area of influence."

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Callaham said 102 people applied for the job. The pool was narrowed to five finalists. Kercheval learned last week that he was chosen.

Callaham announced publicly in December 2009 that he'd retire on Sept. 1, 2010.

When Kercheval was chosen, Callaham agreed to stay a few months longer, letting Kercheval finish his second term as a commissioner before becoming executive director.

The new county commissioners are scheduled to be sworn in Dec. 7. Kercheval said he's willing to stay in office until then.

Kercheval, who is married with children, closed Kerch's Southern BBQ, a restaurant, more than five years ago.

He said he put full-time hours into being a commissioner, leaving little time for another job.

"It was just easier to tighten up and wait till this term was over," he said.

Callaham said the salary was advertised at $60,000 plus a maximum of $5,000 a year in benefits.

Washington County commissioners receive $30,000 a year.

Kercheval said he never planned to be a career elected official. Near the end of his first term, he wanted to get more done in a second term, particularly in land use and planning, so he ran again.

Now, "it's time to let in some fresh blood," he said.

Kercheval, who applied in 2008 for a vacant state delegate seat, isn't ruling out a future run for political office.

Asked if Greater Hagerstown required Kercheval not to hold public office while executive director, League said, "I think we just thought it was best for all involved."

Kercheval will be the organization's fourth executive director.

Callaham said the first two were Philip Morey, who served in 1988 and 1989, and Herbert Meininger, who held the job from 1989 to 1998.

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