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Elder announces he will not seek re-election

Ingrid Mezo

(3/24) "‘My wife and I don’t sleep at night very good, and it just works on us all day long and gets us all upset," Elder said. ‘‘...People I’ve known all my life — taken fishing and things like that — don’t want anything to do with me now because of those things they said in the papers, which isn’t even true."

While serving on the town’s board, Elder said his major contribution was working on the town’s water problems as liaison to the town’s water committee.

Prior to his election, ‘‘we were always having water bans," Elder said. ‘‘We had no water ban for three years, and we would have had another water ban I’m sure if I hadn’t made the improvements up here."

Those improvements included establishing a water equipment fund, restoring the water tax, opening three new wells in the town and the Mountain View water line, Elder said. In addition, Elder recommended a water supply capacity management plan from the Maryland Department of the Environment and provided instruction on water conservation through inserts in the water bills and on cable Channel 99.

‘‘But somebody’s going to have to carry it on because you have to do something every year," Elder said.

Elder said one of the main reasons he wanted to serve as a town commissioner was to bring the town government closer to the people. He is retired, and had hoped to greet people that came to town hall personally, but that never transpired.

‘‘I got into this because I wanted to give back to the town, and I’m retired and can go into the town office every day and take care of things," Elder said. ‘‘I guess it wasn’t enough for the [media] to see the things that I could do. It was like my feet [were] in wet concrete for three years. Every time I tried to get up and do something, the press would knock me down, they’d get you in the back."

While Elder and O’Neil had their share of disagreements with other town officials, Mayor James Hoover said he had held high hopes for Elder as a commissioner.

‘‘I really feel Art had a lot more potential than what he provided," Hoover said. ‘‘Unfortunately, he got into a form of peer pressure and did many of the things he did that prohibited him from being a bit more successful as a commissioner. I do know that Art truly only chose to become a commissioner because his heart really was in the best interest of the town, but that peer pressure really had him squeezed between a rock and a hard place."

Elder is currently the only board member who grew up in Emmitsburg.

‘‘The sad thing is that Art has a perspective of Emmitsburg that very few people [have]," McDermott said. ‘‘...Part of Art’s legacy has been tainted by that ethics report ...and we want to get rid of that false image that has been portrayed of [him.]"

Elder said he would not run for public office again, ‘‘at least not in Emmitsburg."

‘‘It was the worst three years of my life," he said. ‘‘It shouldn’t have been. It should have been an enjoyable job.

‘‘I’ll miss the excitement [of town government], but I guess it was too much excitement," he joked.

Read other news stories related to the Emmitsburg Town Government