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Bel Air mayor unseated from town’s Board of Commissioners; Chance, Etting will assume positions

Incumbent Amy G. Chmielewski will lose her seat on the Bel Air Board of Commissioners and consequently her title as mayor, according to unofficial vote totals released after Thursday’s canvass.

Mary F. Chance and Paula Etting received the highest number of votes, earning 449 and 396 votes respectively as of the Thursday’s canvass. Chmielewski received 264 votes and business owner Lawrence J. Russell received 131 votes. There were 12 write-in ballots.

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29 absentee ballots and eight provisional ballots were also cast resulting in a total of 720 ballots. A second canvass to count the five outstanding ballots will take place on Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Bel Air Town Hall.

Bel Air commissioner candidate Mary Chance stands along the sidewalk campaigning as voters make their way to the polls for the Bel Air election Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall.
Bel Air commissioner candidate Mary Chance stands along the sidewalk campaigning as voters make their way to the polls for the Bel Air election Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Chance, a retired employee of the Harford County Government, holds a steady lead after Thursday’s vote count. Chance’s many titles over her 28-year career with the county include director of community services and director of administration, during which she work directly with the county executive.

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Chance has lived in Harford County for 55 years, 16 of which have been spent in the town of Bel Air.

She told The Aegis she is “thrilled” with the results, noting she sent out more than 500 letters, put up many yard signs and walked through every neighborhood in the town.

Chance says she thinks the most pressing issues facing Bel Air are ensuring neighborhoods are safe despite increasing traffic, keeping Main Street family friendly and requesting Independent Brewing Company reduce its noise level.

“I just hope to serve them in the way they want a commissioner to serve,” Chance told The Aegis.

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Bel Air commissioner candidate Paula Etting stands along the sidewalk campaigning as voters make their way to the polls for the Bel Air election Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall.
Bel Air commissioner candidate Paula Etting stands along the sidewalk campaigning as voters make their way to the polls for the Bel Air election Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Etting, a retired litigation attorney and 28-year resident of Bel Air, holds steady at second place after Thursday’s vote count.

“I have never run for public office before and I’m glad the hard work paid off,” Etting told The Aegis.

She, like Chance, attributes her success to running an “old-fashioned campaign” during which she knocked on residents’ doors and distributed literature around town.

Etting told The Aegis her primary focuses in office will be to determine “How we can continue to grow and improve Bel Air without losing the small-town feel” and “encourage economic growth in the town while maintaining its character.”

Bel Air Town Commissioner Amy Chmielewski waves to passers by as they beep their car horns as he stands with other candiadates in the morning rain Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall.
Bel Air Town Commissioner Amy Chmielewski waves to passers by as they beep their car horns as he stands with other candiadates in the morning rain Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at Bel Air Town Hall. (Matt Button / The Aegis/Baltimore Sun Media)

Chmielewski told The Aegis that despite coming up short, she would not change the way she approached her campaign.

“I have no regrets in any way. I just wish I could have spent more time on it. But my family, then my job, come first,” Chmielewski said.

“But the town is always on my mind. I am excited for the new commissioners.”

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