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Thurmont commissioners dismiss resident's resignation request

Stephanie Mlot
News-Post Staff

(4/1) Despite accusations and a resident's request, two town commissioners have no intention of resigning.

Charlotte Falconer handed out a letter Monday night asking commissioners Bob Lookingbill and Ron Terpko to step down. Falconer is upset that her water bill increased after a contractor used her water during a summer construction project.

After the March 22 town meeting, Falconer and the commissioners clashed over the issue. Falconer said she is asking for Lookingbill and Terpko's resignations because the two insulted and humiliated her.

"The thing that I just found absolutely so amazing was the fact that she stood there (last Monday) for 20 minutes using the F-word like a sailor," Terpko said Tuesday.

Falconer acknowledged that she used inappropriate language in talking with the commissioners. But she said that she did not start swearing until after Terpko yelled at her.

"Yes, there was some cursing done," Falconer said. "Only after Terpko hollered and screamed. Yes, we got into it hot and heavy, because I was tired of them lying."

Terpko said the argument began after Mayor Martin Burns suggested that if Falconer didn't calm down, he would contact the police.

"She started screaming and hollering," Terpko said.

Lookingbill said Falconer hurt her argument by becoming upset.

"The big thing that I'd like to make clear," Lookingbill said, "is that if she would have come to the board, if she had a problem with town staff and what took place, and spoke to us in a ladylike manner, I would have entertained trying to help her out in whatever way we could.

"I'm not saying we would have paid her whole bill, but I would have liked to have heard her story."

Lookingbill said most contractor services are arranged by the town's Chief Administrative Officer Bill Blakeslee, who is out on medical leave.

"It really didn't get to the commissioners until after it had ignited," Lookingbill said.

Terpko said he knew nothing about Falconer's water situation and that Blakeslee and Burns were handling it.

The contractors replaced underground electric cables in the Catoctin Heights development. Lookingbill said they used asphalt-cutting devices that needed three gallons of water.

Falconer said the workers used her water, without permission, for eight hours one day last summer. Her three-month water bill increased to about $350. A subsequent bill, received in January, was for $218.

"What they did wrong was not to ask the homeowner if they could use some water from her faucet," Lookingbill said.

Thurmont Chief Financial Officer Rick May said the construction company's name is Area, but he could not provide contact information.

"Later on, once (Falconer) found out about it, from what I was told, she complained to the town office and said that she wasn't going to pay her water bill," Lookingbill said.

He said Blakeslee talked to the contractor, who said the crew used only three gallons of water. Blakeslee offered to take 10 gallons of water off Falconer's bill. "From what (the town office) said, she wasn't happy with that," Lookingbill said.

Terpko questioned why Falconer didn't confront the crew while they were taking the water.

"You're going to sit at your house and let somebody take water out of your hose for eight hours and not do anything?" Terpko asked.

Falconer said her roommate's daughter twice told the construction workers to stop using her water, but after a third time, left the issue for Falconer to deal with later.

"I'm not out for blood," Falconer said. "I'm just out for what's right."

During the March 22 discussion, Falconer began complaining of chest pains. Terpko called 911, and Sgt. Christopher McLoughlin came the town office.

Lt. Allen Droneburg said a call for service was made, but no police report was completed after the incident. Falconer was not taken to the hospital.

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