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Easton would give up council seat for new job

July 02, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Forrest Easton
,

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- If elected Washington County register of wills this fall, Forrest Easton would have to give up his Hagerstown City Council seat.

Easton, a Republican, filed Wednesday to run for the full-time county position.

The only other candidate as of Friday was Democrat Jason A. Malott, the chief deputy to the register of wills.

Malott filed in March after Democrat John R. Bloyer II, the register of wills since 1992, decided not to run again.

Easton said he also would have to give up his current job with Service Coordination Inc., a nonprofit organization that monitors services funded by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration.

Local agencies with that state funding include United Cerebral Palsy, the Arc of Washington County and Star Community, Easton said.

"It's been an agonizing, tough decision process the last couple months," Easton said Thursday about possibly giving up his elected office and his Service Coordination job, which he has held for about seven years.

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Easton was elected to the city council in 2009. He said before the election that he was dissatisified with the administration in power and the lack of respect he saw at council meetings.

Until last year, the city charter said any "officer or employee in the classified service of the city" could not keep his or her position after becoming a candidate for any public office.

Last year, that section was changed to say officers or employees of the city had to give up their positions "after being elected to any public office."

The charter does not define "officer," but William P. Nairn, a city attorney, said Thursday that it would be a council member or mayor.

If there's a vacancy on the council, the remaining council members choose a replacement to finish the term.

The duties of the register of wills' office include overseeing the administration of estates, helping the public fill out forms, determining and collecting inheritance taxes and probate fees, and serving as a clerk to the orphans court, according to a state of Maryland register of wills website.

The salary was $71,500 in 2002, then rose in 2006 to $93,900, where it remains.

Easton, 35, and his wife live in Hagerstown.

He said he went back to school to get a master's degree in human science in 2008. He concentrated on psychology and got a master's level certificate in thanatology, the study of death and dying.

"I've always wanted to get involved in the grieving process, working with people through those difficult times," he said.

If any other Democrats or Republicans file to run by Tuesday's deadline, there will be a primary Sept. 14. The general election will be Nov. 2.

Candidate for Washington County register of wills



Name: Forrest Easton

Date of birth: Aug. 27, 1974

Address: 24 Willard St.

Hometown: Hagerstown

Education: Associate degree in criminal justice from Allegany College of Maryland in 1995; bachelor's degrees in political science and justice studies from Frostburg State University in 1996; master's degree in human science with a concentration in psychology and a master's level certificate in thanatology (the study of death and dying) from Hood College in 2008

Occupation: Works for Service Coordination Inc., monitoring programs that are funded by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration

Party affiliation: Republican

Political experience: Elected to Hagerstown City Council in 2009

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