At 6 p.m. yesterday, Montgomery County Councilman Dickran Y. Hovsepian paused a moment to look at his 30-year-old gold watch before recounting where the years had gone.
"Monday night I was working on Council business from 10 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. Since Tuesday is the County Council meeting, I then got up at 7 a.m. to go through my packet of materials for the meeting (which started at 9:30 a.m.). We'll be here at the Council until about 7 p.m. and then after dinner, I'll go through the same work I was doing Monday night for another three hours."
". . . I've worked with people all my life," the 63 year old councilman said. "But when I boiled it down, I said, do I want to do this - for this amount of time?"
Yesterday, having resolved that question in the negative, Hovsepian announced he was calling it quits, retiring from elective politics at the end of his term. The former Rockville mayor who twiced served as chairman of the Council and now is its president protem, said he would not stand for re-election in the 1978 election or in any other election.
Especially in Montgomery County, where the term "good government is taken extremely seriously, politics often seems to be a long procession of drawn out public hearings. Often they last into the early morning hours of the next business day until everyone is heard.
Hovsepian is a member of six Council committees, although the job of council member is technically a part-time affair for which members are paid $20,850. Over a two-week period in December - which is supposed to be a slow time - Hovseplan said he worked 10 nights. Nine of those nights involved public meetings of one kind or the other.
"Do I want to do this," asked Hovsepian. "No. I want to do other things."
Hovsepian's schedule for today includes a 9 a.m. work session on an ethics bill and a purchasing bill, legislative correspondence (at least 10 letters and five phone calls), Democratic Party work, and a public hearing that starts at 8 p.m. On Thursday, there is an afternoon meeting with CBers who want to give their side of the story an antenna height and another late night work session with Council business.
Friday, there is a work session in the morning on highway needs and another in the afternoon on the Silver Spring East sectional map amendment. The material must be reviewed in advance. Friday night there is a cocktail party and dinner dance that demands his political presence.
Hovespian said he has spent the last seven years, the time in which he has been a Montgomery County councilman, pursuing that kind of hectic schedule.
He served two terms as Rockville's mayor (from 1954 to 1958) and spent the following 12 years working for local government committees. In 1969 he retired from his job as a military geographer for the Corps of Engineers, and the following year, he put his name in nomination for the Democratic Party candidate for county executive at the Democratic convention.
"I lost by four votes," he recalled. He won the endorsement for County Council, however. Four years later, when he was asked if he wanted to run for the county executive position, he declined. "I knew how much time that would take."
"My mother is 88 years old and lives in northern New Jersey. I would like to go up and see her, but it's impossible to go away when there are so many council meetings," he said.
"Also, I have a friend who's ill now. I'd like to be able to spend some time with him before he dies."
In his formal statement, he wrote: "I make this decision with much regret: so much of my life has been absorbed in and become part of this county's history, but no person is irreplaceable."