For years, bitter divisions have split Manchester's town government. The council was cleaved over the issue of whether to retain former town manager Terry Short. For months, the members also couldn't agree on filling a council vacancy.
Come Tuesday at least, the municipal election in Manchester will give town residents the opportunity to heal a few political wounds, if that's what they want to do.
Newcomers moving into the northeast Carroll town have upset older residents who aren't thrilled with the influx. The entrenched powers also didn't appreciate the inference they were running the government inefficiently.
Manchester is on the verge of explosive growth, and some long-range planning is in order. In the past, the preferred style of governance has been to react rather than anticipate change. Not only does the town's water and sewer system require upgrading but plans for its expansion are urgently needed.
After 20 years of town service, the current mayor, Earl A.J. "Tim" Warehime Jr., has decided not to run for re-election. Elmer C. Lippy and John Riley are competing for the job.
An avuncular man, Mr. Lippy would rather solve problems than fight over them. He is experienced, having been been Manchester's mayor as well as a Carroll County commissioner from 1990-94. His return to local politics might be considered akin to former governor William Donald Schaefer's rumored return as mayor of Baltimore, only Mr. Lippy is a calmer sort.
Mr. Riley, meanwhile, is a former councilman who just retired as town manager in Hampstead. He, too, is well versed on issues. However, as a councilman he bucked initiatives to run the town more efficiently. Mr. Lippy's background and style could better serve Manchester.
Three candidates are running for two council seats. Incumbents Chris D'Amario and James Singer are seeking election after being appointed to office. Mr. D'Amario has invested a great deal of energy on the water and sewer committee. Mr. Singer, on the other hand, has seemed to have trouble sorting out the town's business. Geoff Rice, an engineer who has served on VTC town committees, has a good grasp of Manchester's problems.
The Sun endorses Elmer Lippy for mayor and Chris D'Amario and Geoff Rice for town council in Manchester.