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Hoover re-elected in Emmitsburg

Pamela Rigaux
Frederick News Post

(4/27) Mayor James Hoover won re-election with 357 out of 537 votes, as residents also took a clear stand for managed growth by casting the most commissioner votes for non-COPE candidates.

Mr. Hoover defeated Commissioner Art Elder, who had 126 votes, and Dr. Stanley C. Mazaleski, who received 54 votes.

Chris Staiger got the most votes for the open commissioners' seats with 221 votes, while Glenn Blanchard got the second highest vote count with 214.

The results leave the board of commissioners split between managed growth and slow growth members.

Mr. Staiger will fill the open spot, with his term running until 2008; Mr. Blanchard will fill Dianne Walbrecker's seat, which runs until 2007.

The remaining candidates were Joyce Rosensteel with 199 votes, Cliff Sweeney with 189 votes, Catherine Forrence with 125 votes, and Harold Craig Jr. with 101 votes.

The margin of victory did not surprise Mr. Hoover.

"From the different people I've spoken to, many people are really concerned about COPE having more power on the board," he said. And "Dr. Mazaleski didn't have name recognition."

Mr. Elder will continue serving on the board. His seat expires October 2006.

Mr. Elder won his bid for commissioner by a landslide two years ago on a platform that included imposing a five-year moratorium on residential construction in town.

Mr. Sweeney said, "Hopefully the town came to its senses and has seen COPE for what it is."

Two of the four board members now are members of Citizens Organized to Preserve Emmitsburg. COPE members believe infrastructure must be in place before the town annexes residential properties.

That infrastructure includes sewers, water lines, roads and schools. COPE has blocked residential annexations in the past few years.

Mr. Hoover said that it would be difficult if the board was made up of a majority of COPE members. However, the vote still could lead to deadlocks because the mayor doesn't normally vote on most issues.

Several people exiting the voting booths at the town office on Main Street said Mr. Hoover's experience and personality affected their decision.

"I think it's important when your candidate's job is making it easier for people to commute," Anthony Scarzello said, in reference to the mayor's job as deputy director of MARC Train Community services. "He has organizational skills."

Sister Anne Higgins, a member of Daughters of Charity, said she voted for slow-growth commissioner candidates. "I'm very concerned about the environment," she said. "I'm very concerned about the traffic."

Even though she doesn't perceive Mr. Hoover as a "slow-growth" candidate, she voted for him. "I like him," she said.

Amanda Little said the town has to grow residentially and commercially to be "viable" and that's why she voted for managed growth candidates.

Mr. Scarzello and his wife Kathy said growth was a "huge factor in their decision." Mr. Scarzello voted for managed growth candidates Mr. Staiger and Mr. Blanchard. "They have a sensible perspective," he said. "No one in this town is crazy about growth, but growth is going to happen."

He reasoned it is better to have candidates who are willing to work with developers, than commissioners will not.

The open board of commissioners' seats were held by Ms. Rosensteel and Dianne Walbrecker. Mr. Staiger's term ends October 2008. Mr. Blanchard will serve out Ms. Walbrecker's three-year term, which ends in October 2007.

The new board will reorganize at the May 2 town meeting and will decide who their next president will be. Bill O'Neill is currently president of the board, and a COPE member. This first vote is likely to be their first deadlock, as the mayor is not permitted to vote on the issue.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government