Five running for three Bel Air commissioner seats

Incumbent Bel Air town commissioner Terence Hanley waited until five minutes before Friday afternoon's deadline to file for re-election in next month's election.

The filing deadline for candidacy in the Nov. 8 Town of Bel Air election was 7 p.m. Friday. Hanley, who was unsure if he'd run again, filed at 6:55 at Town Hall, Joyce Oliver, the town director administration, said.

With Hanley's entrance into the race, there are five candidates for the three available seats on the Board of Town Commissioners.

The seats of Commissioners Eddie Hopkins and Robert Reier, who both filed in late September, will also be contested in the Nov. 8 election. Also running are Gregory Adolph and Susan Burdette.

The two other commissioners, Dave Carey and Rob Preston, were elected in 2009. Commissioners serve four-year terms.

Hanley said a few weeks ago he wasn't sure if he would run for re-election and needed to discuss it with his family. He is facing a theft charge in Cecil County in connection with a business transaction involving his former employer

The charges against him are "unfounded" and "ridiculous," Hanley said Tuesday, adding that he will defend himself to the fullest and he has an "outstanding reputation in the community as a family man, as a business man and as somebody with integrity."

Since filing for re-election, Hanley said, he has received a positive response from the community. After committing eight years to the town board, he is said he is most proud that despite the economy, Bel Air has not had a tax increase or a cut in services.

One of the biggest issues facing Bel Air, he added, is the economy and, as such, his position is to be a "fiscal watchdog."

"I think that I've done a good job representing the citizens of Bel Air," he said, "and I'm going to continue to do so."

Reier said Monday that working with the "fragile" economy in terms of the budget will continue to be a big challenge for all governments.

As for his decision to run for re-election after initially being hesitant, Reier said he filed after receiving positive comments and encouragements from the community.

"I've always been a little bit of a reluctant politician but I do have a passion to serve this community," he said.

Hopkins said in August he would seek a second term, explaining that making Bel Air a safe walking community is a personal priority, as is making sure the town recruits and retains qualified law enforcement officers and balancing the budget.

Adolph has run for the town board once before. Burdette is a first-time candidate.

When he ran in 2009, Adolph, 28, lost by seven votes to Carey and by eight to Preston.

A resident of Bel Air for seven years, Adolph said serving on the town board would help him fulfill a desire to give back to the community and shape a better future for his daughter. Adolph has served on the board of Moores Mill Manor Condominiums, the town's Board of Appeals and volunteers at St. Margaret Church in Bel Air.

Burdette has 35 years of experience working with the Harford County Public Library has lived in Bel Air for 24 years. Her husband, Steve, served on the Board of Commissioners from 1994 to 1999.

In an interview a few weeks ago, Burdette also emphasized the need to keep a balanced budget, saying she wants to help the town maintain services without increasing the burden on the taxpayers. She also praised the efforts of town leaders and employers.

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