Hancock Town Council/Mayor election heats up

December 13, 2012|By DON AINES |

HANCOCK — For the second time in two months, the Hancock Town Council and mayor will need to fill a vacancy, as a second councilman has filed to run against Mayor Daniel Murphy.

There also are nine people who filed to run for two open seats on the town council in the Jan. 28 municipal election.

Tim Smith, a councilman for six years, filed to run for mayor by the Nov. 30 deadline. A charter provision of the town is that a council member who files to run for any other town office must resign his or her seat.

In November, Murphy appointed and the council approved January Creek Souders as the replacement for former councilman Nigel Dardar, who filed to run for mayor in late October. Dardar’s four-year term was to expire in February.

“I’d like to run on a proven record of success for our town,” Murphy said Friday. “Anyone who looks at it realistically, we’re in a better place than we were 10 years ago in terms of quality of life.”

Tax and utility rates remain low and, after having lost several industries in recent years, Evolve Industries opened in the former Fleetwood trailer factory, Murphy said. The town also has embraced new technology, such as the solar field powering the wastewater treatment plant, he said.

Murphy, the longest-serving mayor in Hancock’s history, is running for his ninth two-year term as mayor.

Smith was midway through his second term on the council when he decided to file for mayor.

“I feel I can bring a positive change to government and the people of the town,” Smith said Friday. “I just feel that it’s time for some new blood to come up with some new ideas.”

Those include focusing on ways to bring more repeat visitors to the town, Smith said. The town could work with civic groups and others to put on more and bigger events to draw families and tourists to the town, he said.

Elected to the council in 2009, Dardar said after announcing his mayoral bid that he was concerned about “not having openness and transparency” in town government. He also expressed concerns about how the town bids and awards contracts.

Councilman Dennis Hudson filed to run for re-election, and Souders filed to run for election to the seat to which she was appointed last month, according to the town office.

Also filing to run were Michael P. Faith, David Kerns, Dr. Ralph T. Salvagno, Homer Schetrompf, Stephen Eric Van Meter, Charles Wilkinson, Greg Yost, Gregory Stone and Robert Frey.

Faith is a member of the town zoning board.

Salvagno is an orthopedic surgeon with the Center for Joint Surgery & Sports Medicine in Hagerstown. He ran unsuccessfully against Murphy for mayor in 2009, according to published reports.

Yost is the former chief and current assistant chief of the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co.

Schetrompf is a retired contractor, who said he believes the town also needs new blood and new ideas, as well as more involvement from residents.

“Turnout at town meetings is bad. People need to get more involved,” Schetrompf said.

Attempts to reach Van Meter, Kerns and Wilkinson were unsuccessful.

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