Elmer C. Lippy cannot stay away from politics. He tried it for about four months and decided it was not for him.
The 74-year-old former Carroll County commissioner said yesterday he expects to run for mayor of Manchester in the May 16 election. "I don't really believe it's as crazy as it sounds," he said.
Mr. Lippy, who was the town's mayor from 1987 to 1990, said he is considering running for the four-year post "as long as I'm healthy, and I think I can still serve both myself and the good people of Manchester."
He could have two opponents in the race. Former Manchester Councilman John A. Riley, 66, said yesterday he's considering a run. Mayor Earl A. J. "Tim" Warehime, 49, was out of town yesterday but said earlier this month that he might seek a second term.
Mr. Riley retired Friday as Hampstead town manager. Mr. Warehime was elected to the Town Council in 1983 and took office as mayor in 1990, after Mr. Lippy left for the commissioner job. "Both of those are my second cousins through marriage," Mr. Lippy said.
The deadline to file for the nonpartisan mayor's race is April 10. No one had filed as of yesterday, a town secretary said. The part-time job in the town of 3,000 people pays $1,200 a year.
Mr. Lippy said politics is in his blood. "The enzymes and juices are flowing."
After retiring from Lever Bros. in 1985, he won a Manchester Town Council seat. In 1987, he was elected to one term as mayor. In 1990, he won a County Commissioner seat as a Democrat.
In November, he suffered his first political loss when he was defeated for a second term as commissioner.
"It was a traumatic shock to lose," Mr. Lippy said.
He's interested in returning to politics because he said he has the experience, dedication and honesty for the mayor's job. He also thinks he could win.
"I am naturally going to present myself as the best choice by far," he said.
When he ran for mayor in 1987, his opponent was Mr. Warehime, a Colonial Pipeline Co. employee. Mr. Lippy defeated him by a 3-to-1 margin.
Mr. Riley, whose sister-in-law Kathryn L. Riley is a town councilwoman, said he would be a better mayor than Mr. Lippy.
"I'm more qualified than he is," Mr. Riley said.
Mr. Riley said he has been in municipal government since about 1970, when he first served on the Manchester council. He was town manager for seven years, then its zoning administrator for seven years.
In 1984, he was hired as Hampstead's town manager. Yesterday was his first day of retirement from the job.
LIPPY In 1990, Mr. Riley was elected to a Manchester Town Council seat, but was forced to resign in 1993 when the Maryland attorney general ruled that he could not hold two paid public positions.
Asked if he could defeat Mr. Lippy, Mr. Riley said, "Elections are funny things.
"He had no great accomplishments," Mr. Riley added.
Mr. Lippy, who usually spent 40 hours a week at the mayor's job, denounced a Ku Klux Klan rally in Manchester and oversaw expansion of the town's sewage treatment plant.
Mr. Lippy said it's time for "a fresh start" in Manchester after a few years of contentiousness among council members, residents and former Town Manager Terry L. Short.
"My first order of business is to restore a sense of community, one that is sorely needed," Mr. Lippy said. "I think it's a great time for the healing process to begin now that the one town manager has gone."
Mr. Short, the town's first manager, was hired in 1992 and resigned in November. His tenure was marked by friction. The council often was deadlocked on issues. His replacement has not been hired.
"John Riley would make a better town manager than a mayor," Mr. Lippy said. "And I'd make a better mayor.
"Let me remind you, in all civilized nations, age is respected and is accompanied by wisdom," he said.
Mr. Riley said he would not file to run for mayor until close to the deadline because he wants to know who is running for two open council seats first. As of yesterday, only one person -- A. Geoffrey Rice -- has filed to run for a council seat.