by Geoff Fox
In a special town meeting last Wednesday, February 24, Hancock town officials selected Josh McCusker as the town’s newest councilman.
McCusker replaces Tim Smith, who resigned from his council seat on February 18 to pursue the mayoral seat in April’s municipal election.
The meeting was held virtually due to the COVID pandemic.
Because of Smith’s resignation, there were only three councilmen – Tim Boyer, Roland Lanehart, Jr., and Leo Murray – in attendance and voting on the appointment. Mayor Ralph Salvagno presided over the meeting.
McCusker will serve out the remaining two years of Smith’s four-year term.
When presenting possible replacements, McCusker was the only one brought forth. All three councilmen were all in support of his nomination.
In his support of McCusker, Lanehart said the new councilman knows what it’s like to raise two children in Hancock right now with the town having limited resources for such a small community.
McCusker also served in the United States military, Lanehart said.
Boyer echoed the same sentiments as Lanehart.
“One of the biggest concerns for me, and I think for the community right now, is keeping our schools here,” Boyer said. “So it is nice to have somebody on the council, I know we all care about that, but someone that’s more directly affected with kids in our elementary school that will, hopefully, be going here throughout their career.”
Murray thought McCusker would be an excellent choice.
“I like the guy,” Murray said. “I think he’d work hard.”
Murray added it’s also nice to get someone who is you on the council and could “grow into it” and stay with the job.
McCusker, who is 32, will be sworn in as the new councilman on March 10, prior to start of the town meeting that evening.
The big issue facing the town is the situation regarding schools in Hancock and that’s one McCusker said he wanted to tackle, as he gets ready to take his seat on the town council.
“That’s a major issue,” he said about the possibility of Hancock Middle-Senior High School being closed and students moving to Clear Spring.
While he hasn’t had any political experience, McCusker has been in the military and works for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
“I’m the new guy,” he said.
McCusker said he had been approached by Boyer a “couple weeks ago” and found out shortly after the meeting he had been approved.
He’s known Boyer since they worked at Pizza Hut while in school and also knows Lanehart “real well.”
“I think they kind of leaned towards maybe I’d get along with both sides or get along with all of them,” McCusker said.
McCusker was not in on the original meeting but was getting ready to login at 7:05 p.m. when he got the call about the vote.
Other than the school situation, McCusker said he also wants to bring businesses back to town and thinks what’s happening on Warfordsburg Road is going to be great for the community.