County Comment: County Staff Says Farewell to Snook
County Staff Says Farewell to Snook
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer
Washington County current and former Commissioners, County staff, family and local dignitaries gathered on Thursday, November 9 to wish outgoing Board of County Commissioners' President Greg Snook well.
Departments remembered milestones in County history that occurred during Snook's 16-year tenure. During 12 of those years Snook served as President of the Commission.
Economic Development Commission Executive Director Tim Troxell said that during the last eight years Snook served as a Commissioner, 13,000 new jobs were created in the County.
"Greg was a strong force in almost every one of those jobs coming to Washington County," Troxell said, calling Snook "the County's number one economic developer." Troxell cited Volvo/Mack Truck, First Data, Citicorp, Phoenix Color, Susquehanna Bancshares, FedEx Ground, Home Depot Direct, Good Humor/Breyer's and many other major employers that located or expanded in the County while Snook served.
Public services to Citizens also increased during Snook's terms. Washington County Free Library Director Mary Baykan said that Snook "understood how important libraries are to the communities and to the families, and particularly to the Children who the libraries serve."
"He really looked at the needs of the communities. He listened to Clear Spring, he listened to Smithsburg and Boonsboro and he really did an amazing championship in making those libraries a reality," Baykan said.
New branch libraries were built in the towns of Clear Spring and Smithsburg and a third, in Boonsboro, was funded and construction begun while Snook was a Commissioner.
Snook, from Williamsport, provided support to the County's 9 municipalities over the years, a theme echoed by Juliana Albowicz, a former Vice-Mayor of Clear Spring who now serves as Senator Barbara Mikulski's Western Maryland Representative.
"We knew we could count on him, he had the County crews come in to clean up the roads, we were always part of the overlay project if we needed roads done," Albowicz said. "There was always a lot of County cooperation. They were always there for us."
Funding for Fire and Rescue operations and charitable organizations received a boost in 1994 when the Washington County Gaming Commission began regulating tax collection from "tip jars" and other gaming activities. That effort has produced more than $31 million over the years to help those functions, Gaming Office Director Jim Hovis said. Hovis presented Snook with his own "tip jar license" during the event, as one of a number of departmental tributes to the Commissioners' leadership.
Hagerstown Regional Airport's runway expansion was a $69-million economic development project begun under Snook that will be completed in 2007. Airport staff gave Snook an autographed rock from the runway excavation as a memento.
Snook told the gathering that support from both family and dedicated staff are needed in order to get the job done.
Also in attendance were former Commissioners Linda Irvin-Craig, Lee Downey, John Schnebly, Ron Bowers, and Paul Swartz, as well as Commissioner-Elect John Barr.