Twelve candidates have filed to run for the five seats on the Hagerstown City Council, including former Republican State Sen. Donald F. Munson and former Washington County Board of Commissioners member Kristin B. Aleshire.
Republican Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II also will have competition in an April 3 primary election after Republican Brian D. Caron of 609 Sunset Ave., filed to run for the job, according to Kaye Robucci, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.
Caron, 39, operates a printing press at Tri-State Printing on Bester Street in Hagerstown.
Caron, who has never held public office before, said he is a lifelong resident of Hagerstown and would be interested in playing a role in the betterment of the city.
Caron said complaining about issues through Mail Call “doesn’t always make things happen.”
Although Caron said he does not have a platform, he vowed to “just see what I could do.”
Democrat David Gysberts, of 795 Hamilton Boulevard, Hagerstown, who ran for mayor in 2009, also filed to run for mayor, Robucci said.
As the 9 p.m. filing deadline passed Wednesday, all of the city council incumbents, a former councilwoman and three political newcomers had filed to run for the council.
With six Republican candidates running for the council, a GOP primary election will also have to be held on April 3.
Aleshire, who was also a former city council member, lost his re-election bid for his commissioners seat in the Nov. 2, 2010, general election.
Neither Aleshire, Gysberts nor council candidate Jonathan R. Burrs could not be reached for comment Wednesday night. Burrs was a write-in candidate for mayor in 2009.
The other nine council candidates are incumbents William Breichner, Martin E. Brubaker, Forrest W. Easton, Ashley C. Haywood, Lewis C. Metzner, former Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh, and newcomers Lauren “Larry” Bayer, Jeffrey Coney and Chris Kelly.
Earlier in the day, Bruchey said Munson “brings a wealth of knowledge” and would be a good advocate for the city.
Speaking outside the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where he attended the opening day of the Maryland General Assembly’s 2012 session, Bruchey said he had talked ahead of time with Munson about his plans to run.
Munson said he is running for the council and has no plans to run for statewide office in the future.
“I want to be a city councilman,” the 74-year-old Republican said.
He said his 16 years in the House of Delegates and 20 years in the Senate would be an asset for the city.
“I’ve had a lot of experience. I’ve had a lot of contacts, and I know the system inside and out,” said Munson, who was the senior member of the Senate Budget Committee when he lost the Republican nomination to Christopher B. Shank.
“Public life is in my blood .... I’ve missed public service since I’ve been out of it for the past year,” Munson said.
He said the city needs new businesses, particularly downtown, which would be a benefit to existing shops and restaurants.
Munson said he played a role in bringing the University System of Maryland to downtown and would like to see that expanded.
Breichner, 80, said he wants to loosen restrictions to make it easier for property owners to develop buildings downtown.
He said one of those restrictions includes making developers follow unrealistic guidelines to maintain the historic integrity of buildings.
“We’re not bringing in new interests,” Breichner said. “I think there needs to be a change there.”
Breichner said he believes the next council needs to work to improve Municipal Stadium to ensure the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team has a reason to stay here.
“It’s an overall community asset that needs to be improved,” he said.
He said he believed the city also needs to work toward putting more parks and walkways along Antietam Creek.
Breichner said some of his most notable accomplishments while serving on the council include voting to reduce the budget and to initiate a recycling program.
Breichner has served four nonconsecutive terms on the council and as mayor from 2001-05. He is a Navy veteran.
Ashley C. Haywood
Haywood, 27, was elected to her first term during the city’s 2009 general election.
She said Wednesday that some of her most memorable accomplishments on the council included working to reduce the budget, implementing a recycling program, improving the quality of life in the urban core and being the small-business representative on the council.
“I think this council has made some significant progress and done very well in cutting the budget,” Haywood said. “I would like to keep going with it.”
Haywood said she plans to focus more on bringing high-paying jobs to all parts of Hagerstown, rather than bringing businesses downtown.
She said her campaign intends to use multimedia techniques, such as Twitter and a video feed, to show the voters her life as a councilwoman up until the election.
“I really want people to show what I do,” she said. “I want people to know who they’re voting for.”
Lewis C. Metzner
Metzner was the first candidate to file to run in the council race. He has served on the council since being appointed in October 1994, when then-Councilman John L. Schnebly moved out of the city.
Metzner has said important tasks for the next council will include revitalizing the downtown and overcoming economic obstacles in developing the city budget.
He is 59 years old and is a lawyer with Metzner & Hadigan Attorneys at Law.
Lauren “Larry” Bayer
Bayer, 61, retired at the end of June from 30 years of working for the city, most recently as community development director.
“The 30 years’ experience, I think, gives me a unique perspective into budgeting, employee relations, and resource usage and allocation that I think there’s some areas that can be improved upon,” he said.
A Washington County native, Bayer began his career with the city as a patrol officer in the police department. He later became a code-enforcement officer, then joined the city’s Community Development Office in 1987. He is also a former chairman of the Neighborhoods First Committee.
Kelly, 23, said he is running because he is unhappy with the way the council has been “changing things that are working and not changing things that are not working.”
For example, Kelly said he is unhappy with recent changes to the city’s trash collection contract, a proposed ordinance authorizing speed-cameras in school zones, and the city’s policy of requiring property owners to pay for city-mandated sidewalks.
He also said he would like to make it easier for businesses to get liquor licenses to help attract new businesses to the city’s Arts and Entertainment district.
“I would like to change the city of Hagerstown to the way it used to be; the way people remember it, having a strong downtown, having somewhere that people wanted to go, rather than somewhere people wanted to avoid,” Kelly said.
Kelly is a lifelong Hagerstown resident and 2006 Williamsport High School graduate. He went to school for automotive work, but is currently unemployed. His leadership experience includes having served as a senior patrol leader in Boy Scouts, where he holds the rank of Eagle Scout.
Martin E. Brubaker
Brubaker was appointed to the council in 2006 to fill the Aleshire’s seat, who left to become a Washington County commissioner.
Brubaker was elected to serve again in 2009.
He did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Forrest W. Easton
Easton was elected to serve his first term on the council in 2009.
He did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Penny M. Nigh
Nigh served two consecutive terms on the council before losing her bid for re-election in 2009.
She did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Coney did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story.
Earlier in the day, Robucci said that because the council has five seats, a Democratic primary would be held in April only if six or more Democrats file to run.
Likewise, a Republican primary would be held only if six or more Republicans file to run, she said.
Robucci said that nonprincipal-party candidates, such as Greens and Libertarians, don’t have a primary. Instead, they have until June 29 to file their declaration of intent to run, and until Aug. 6 to turn in their filing fee and other required paperwork.
Third-party independent and unaffiliated candidates also don’t have to run in the primary, Robucci said. They are required to gather 200 signatures — or 1 percent of the registered voters in the city of Hagerstown — and file those signatures by Aug. 6.
This year will mark the first time that the city of Hagerstown will hold its primary and general elections to coincide with the presidential elections.
In the past, the city held its elections in the year between the gubernatorial and presidential elections.
But that process changed in 2009, when the county election board told the council that taxpayers were spending between $60,000 and $125,000 every time the city held an election.
The council then voted to place the issue on the ballot to let the voters decide.
Robucci said Wednesday that voters chose by a 2,592-to-496 margin to move the municipal elections to coincide with the presidential elections. Because the vote wasn’t binding, the matter went back to the council for approval.
During a meeting on May 26, 2009, the council voted 5-0 to change the election dates.
As a result of the vote, the terms of the current mayor and council will be reduced. Those offices typically carry four-year terms.
Hagerstown mayoral candidates
- Gysberts, David