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Mayor appointed to Deputy Director of MARC Train service by Governor

Chris Patterson

(1/28) Emmitsburg Mayor James Hoover wakes up at 2:30 a.m. every day so he can make it to his full-time job in Baltimore by 4:30 a.m. He works until about 3 p.m., then heads back home to his second job as mayor of the small town.

As Emmitsburg's mayor, Hoover earns $8,000 per year, which will not support his family. So every weekday, he heads to work for the MARC train system in Baltimore -- something he's done for about 12 years.

There's been a little change in his schedule recently, however, thanks to a promotion to deputy director of MARC Train and Commuter Bus Service operations. He was appointed to the position by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Now, Hoover works longer hours than normal as he tries to ease out of his former responsibilities and into his new ones. It will all become easier soon, he said.

On a normal day, Hoover supervises the staff responsible for running the 82 revenue-producing trains in the MARC system. He is also the caretaker of the MARC emergency response and evacuation manual. It's a document that dictates how an emergency is handled.

There is "meeting after meeting after meeting," he said, and he handles any emergencies that arise.

Bob Mowry, general manager of the Maryland Transit Administration, said Hoover was selected for the job because he was highly qualified and has worked through the ranks to earn the position.

He said everyone likes working for him, and he does a great job, especially in a crisis.

During a derailment outside Union Station that happened on Inauguration Day, Hoover showed his dedication and helped solve the crisis, Mowry said.

"[He] was at the control center, in communication with all relevant authorities," he said. "...He is a great guy to work with and very qualified without a doubt."

But after a busy day of solving problems, Hoover heads to Emmitsburg Town Hall to take care of his second job.

Upon arriving there, he answers e-mail and phone messages, goes through documents and makes calls or visits residents or business owners.

At night he attends town meetings frequently, and fits his family into his schedule.

Moving to Baltimore to be closer to work is not a consideration for Hoover, however. He and wife Diana selected Emmitsburg about 10 years ago to raise their family and they are firmly entrenched in the community they love, he said. Diana is a nurse with Mountain Manor Treatment Center in town and their children attend local schools.

Despite his sometimes crazy schedule, Hoover said he is pleased to hold two jobs, particularly the one as mayor of the town.

"I love it. I enjoy it. I really do," he said.

He loves the job so much that he plans on running again for office in the town election in April.

A self-described control freak, Hoover said he just has too many projects running in town that he wants to see finished and ideas for many more.

"Right now I think there are so many projects not completed and are in the works that I want to make sure they are completed. I just enjoy the public service of it -- truly," he said.

Some of those projects include sewer lines and water lines and road projects yet to be done and economical development ideas he would like to work on. He also wants to work on affordable housing for the town.

"That's probably the biggie, actually," he said.

To that end, Hoover has accepted a position on Frederick County's Affordable Housing Commission.

He did it because the Town of Emmitsburg desperately needs an affordable housing program, he said.

Hoover said the town has a 13 percent poverty level, according to the last U.S. Census, and it has the highest rate in the county.

He hopes working on the commission will help him learn more about how to help the town with the issue.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government