TANEYTOWN - City Councilman David E. Wantz, who was swept into office last year on a pledge of open and responsive government, will step down at the end of the month.
Wantz, 34, has not lived in the city -- or the state, for that matter -- since he moved to his wife Susan's home in Carroll Valley, Pa., in mid-November. And while he will maintain ties to his hometown, he no longer is eligible to hold public office here.
"I really regret having to do what I did," Wantz said yesterday of his resignation, which was announced during Monday's City Council meeting.
Prompting the move to Carroll Valley -- about 12 miles north of here -- was a "tough decision" made after his Nov. 9 marriage. He will continue to operate his East Baltimore Street electrical contracting firm and maintain ownership of several residential properties in the city. Wantz will also remain vice president of the Taneytown Kiwanis Club.
Wantz's replacement will be selected by the four remaining council members, who receive $30 per meeting, within the next two months, Mayor Henry I. Reindollar said.
"It is with great regret that we accept this resignation," the mayor said to him Monday night.
Wantz's replacement will give the council a total of two appointed members. Jacquelyn J. Polk, the first female member, was appointed last year to fill the term left open by the death of longtime Councilman Thomas H. Smith. Polk's term is up next year; whoever fills Wantz's seat will serve until 1993.
Wantz, who lived here all of his life, was the top vote-getter during May's council elections, when he and Henry C. Heine Jr. unseated two of three incumbents in one of the hardest-fought city races in recent memory.
Of the 193 votes cast in the election, Wantz garnered 141.
Throughout his almost two-year term, he has been an outspoken critic of the way things were done, often bringing complaints raised by residents to open sessions of the council.
Most recently, he openly criticized the Taneytown Police Department for the manner in which officers handled a report of a drunken driver, a move that sparked a week-long feud with Police Chief Melvin E. Diggs.
"I'd like to think that I had a great influence on the present council," Wantz said. "I was somebody who didn't hesitate to speak his mind, who wasn't afraid to say what had to be said."
Content to become a regular citizen for the time being, Wantz hinted he might become involved in politics in Carroll Valley, home of the Ski Liberty resort.