October 16 – Longtime council member and former mayor, Bob Bruchey, resigned from the Hagerstown City Council at the end of last Tuesday’s work session.
The announcement came as a bit of a surprise.
Jim Kercheval, executive director of the Greater Hagerstown Committee, said, “It certainly did. It’s been a long time since you haven’t had a Bob Bruchey somewhere involved in city government. I’m going to miss him. I enjoyed working with Bob both when I was commissioner and outside of that. Whenever I hire somebody at the upper level, or you’re talking about that, you always look for passion, and a work ethic and Bob had both. There’s nobody that thought more of Hagerstown than Bob. He would fight very hard for his community and he was a hard worker. He was active. He was always working on the issues. He always answered my phone calls and we had good discussions. We didn’t always agree on everything, I guess. But he always maintained a good relationship with people where a disagreement was just something we could actually joke about years later.”
It’s not clear where Bruchey will land next.
Kercheval said, “Bob did his time. He’s put a lot of time in and I know he’s got grandkids, things like that. So I would imagine he just thought it was time for him to take a break. The thing people don’t realize is it’s difficult to work those jobs and do them well because of the time involved and then still try to maintain a regular employment. Bob was in sales and I know he struggled just like anybody that’s still trying to work full time for the family and you’re trying to go to your hours, then meet your obligations as an elected official and go back and forth. It’s really difficult and it really doesn’t pay well. So you can’t not work. You can’t quit work at the same time and do an elected official’s position.”
What happens next for the Hagerstown council?
Kercheval said, “The council will decide on that. I think they’re still debating whether or not they want to fill it right away or just hold off and work with what they have until the next election. If they choose, they’ll just evaluate resumes. They set their own kind of process for hiring it, but it’s appointed by the council.”
What’s the best option?
Kercheval said, “I think sometimes you could elevate somebody through an appointment. I know back in my day we had one of the Board of Education members moved to Commissioner spot, and then had to be appointed and I noticed when you were looking at your applications, you got a different set of people that weren’t really political animals. So they weren’t the people that really understood how to campaign and work hard and just wanted to put in an application and resume and get hired like a job and I thought we had some pretty strong candidates and then when you give them an opportunity to enter the elected officials post that way, it kind of gives them a little head start if they do decide they want to stick with it and apply. I think they’re probably at a point where it could go either way. It’s close enough to the election. I don’t think it’s awful. But at the same time, I think there’s some value to making an appointment.”