The City of Hagerstown announced today in a news release that the Hagerstown City Council has chosen Shelley McIntire to fill Donald F. Munson’s vacated Council seat.
Munson resigned his seat on Nov. 10, citing health reasons.
McIntire, 45, was chosen over seven other applicants, including former City Councilwoman Penny Nigh, who, in a recount, lost her seat on the City Council in 2016 by seven votes to Councilman Lewis C. Metzner.
22 total applicants applied for Munson’s vacant seat but only eight were chosen to interview before the mayor and City Council.
The other seven finalists included Brian A. Foltz, Paul Frey, Penny M. Nigh, Colin V. Ploscaru, Tara L. Sargent, Jeanne F. Singer and Chad Smith.
City elections are nonpartisan. McIntire is a registered Republican.
The City’s news release quotes Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II:
“We interviewed eight exceptional candidates for the open seat. Each brought strengths to the table that would be an asset to our City Council. Mrs. McIntire felt at ease at the Council table, and her personality and responses to our questions were genuine and authentic. She proved to the Council that she would keep an open mind on all issues and did not come to the table with an agenda. I believe the Council made a great choice.”
McIntire told the mayor and Council that she has lived in the City of Hagerstown for almost twenty years. She said she is the mother of two children and ‘two bonus children.’
McIntire and her husband, Bill, opened a heating and air conditioning company – McIntire HVAC and Electric – in the City of Hagerstown in 2010.
Councilwoman Emily Keller asked McIntire what the two major issues are facing Hagerstown and how she plans to address them.
McIntire cited the ‘drug issue’ and ‘the crime,’ saying the two issues go ‘hand-in-hand’ and ‘leads to a third issue…public safety.’ She said the two issues ‘lead into the public not feeling safe downtown.’
“That’s a big problem and a lot of big things have to happen,” McIntire said, following up on Keller’s question.
McIntire continued, asking the mayor and Council to think of downtown Hagerstown as Baltimore’s Inner Habor.
“You won’t put in the Inner Habor, you know, social services, and you won’t put the public defender’s office downtown into the Inner Harbor.”
She suggested moving ‘those types of things out to the outskirts.’
McIntire said she would like to work with the Hagerstown City Police and ‘come up with creative ideas in order to control the crime.’ She said creating more events in Hagerstown will be beneficial to public safety because ‘people feel safe in crowds.’
Councilman Paul D. Corderman asked McIntire to explain what has changed for her in the last year and asked why she did not run for the City Council in 2016 election.
McIntire referenced her time spent in Leadership Washington County but did not directly answer Corderman’s question. She said she thinks the current Council has done an ‘amazing job already.’
“This was an opportunity and I decided to go for it,” McIntire told Corderman.
Councilman Metzner posed to McIntire a scenario in which the City may be faced with a tax-rate increase or laying off and/or furloughing City personnel. He asked McIntire to indicate whether she leans one way or the other.
McIntire said that she controls the operations in her HVAC business and sometimes has to make ‘very difficult decisions.’
“I would really have to do the research to see where I fell rather than making a hard answer. Sorry,” McIntire said.
Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire asked McIntire her position on a few ‘hot-button issues,’ including the Urban Improvement Project, her position on unions, a downtown sports stadium, the City’s rental registration program as well as her position on the City’s proposed two-tiered tax rate structure.
McIntire said she is ‘aware’ of the Urban Improvement project but would need to do more research. She is not a member of any union, nor does she have any position on unions, telling Aleshire that she does not have ‘enough familiarity with unions.’
McIntire does not have a ‘specific stance on the stadium’ but thinks that more research needs to happen.
“I think we need to poll the people that would go to the stadium and decide whether we think that if it’s going to increase taxpayers. In theory, a multipurpose facility sounds great to me.”
McIntire said she doesn’t have all the details about the City’s rental registration program and doesn’t know much about it.
Aleshire asked if she is a member of the Property and Landlords Association.
She is not.
When asked about the proposed two-tiered tax structure, McIntire said she ‘would be interested to see where the excess revenue will be invested.’
Aleshire also asked if McIntire rents or owns her home.
Wrapping up the interview, Councilwoman Keller asked McIntire what the City Council has failed at in the last twelve months or needs to do more of, and how McIntire can help the Council.
“It’s been amazing. I think that being in the public eye and, everyone I talk to, knows who you are. Social media can do amazing and scary things at the same time. I think that you do what’s best for the taxpayers and for the people that you are representing. I don’t know if I can pick something that is wrong,” McIntire said.
McIntire’s appointment will not be official until the Council votes on Dec. 19 in regular session. If confirmed by the Council, McIntire will take her oath of office at that time.
You can watch McIntire’s full interview below.