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Stadium study not discussed in open session of commissioners meeting

Murray: Washington County Board of Commissioners could approve study funding in closed session

January 31, 2012|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com

A study on the economic impact of a stadium investment did not come up for a vote in open session during a Washington County Board of Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday.

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II has said the commissioners and the Hagerstown City Council voted in a closed session last week to find out the cost of such a study and that a vote to spend money on the study would have to take place in open session by both parties.

But County Administrator Gregory B. Murray contradicted him Tuesday, saying: “There’s nothing that the commissioners have discussed in closed session in any of the past weeks that needs to come to open session for a vote.”

Asked after the meeting if spending money on a stadium study could be approved in closed session, Murray said that expenditures needed to gather information on topics such as business retention and personnel issues may be approved in closed session.

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For example, he said, if the county was considering purchasing land for a school, an appraisal fee could be authorized in closed session, although the land purchase itself would have to be finalized in open session.

Bruchey said Tuesday night after a council meeting that no definite figures have been presented yet by the Hagerstown Washington County Industrial Foundation, Inc., or CHIEF, which has been commissioned by the city to handle the study.

“I haven’t got that number yet,” Bruchey said, noting that he would like to see some hard figures within three weeks.

The commissioners’ agenda for Tuesday included a closed session “to consider a matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the state; and to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice.”

Commissioner Terry Baker said during the commissioners’ comments portion of Tuesday’s meeting that in last week’s closed session with the city, he did not vote to support looking into a stadium study.

Commissioner Jeffrey A. Cline said after the meeting that he voted against that motion.

Commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham and William B. McKinley said they would not discuss how they voted during a closed session.

Commissioner John F. Barr said three commissioners voted in favor of exploring the stadium study.

Staff Writer C.J. Lovelace contributed to this story.

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