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Council leader set to step down

January 06, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - He's said it before, but this time Kinney Stouffer is retiring his gavel for good.

"I never planned on staying 25 years," said the Waynesboro Borough Council president, who announced Friday he isn't seeking re-election next year.

Weary of the repetitive issues that plague local politics, Stouffer, 64, said he decided four years ago that this would be his last year on the council. His term expires in December.

"I'm still interested in politics. I just don't have the fire there anymore for it," Stouffer said.

A lifelong Waynesboro resident, Stouffer graduated from Waynesboro Senior High School and served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956. He has worked for Grove Manufacturing Co. for 35 years.

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Stouffer was first appointed to the council in 1970 by former President Charles Rinehart. Since then, he said he hasn't seen a lot of changes to the town. The population has remained around 10,000 since Stouffer was a child and even before that, he said. Downtown businesses and industry also remain stable, he added.

"It's really just been normal upkeep, trying to improve the parks and fire and police departments. Things like that," he said.

Stouffer doesn't like to take credit for the borough's consistency over the years. Instead, he acknowledges borough residents and local civic organizations for having an active interest in the town. One example, he said, are the members of the town's bi-centennial committee who have organized activities, programs, a parade and fireworks to celebrate the event this year.

"I think we have a nice community," Stouffer said.

Stouffer admits there were a few times over the past two decades he would have liked to excuse himself from the council, especially when dealing with personnel problems and budget decisions, he said.

But he's quick to say that the ups far outweigh the downs. Stouffer is most proud of the work borough officials put in to get the Community Development Block Grants. The money from the grants has been used to build streets, curbing, handicap ramps and improve low-income housing, among other projects.

"I feel good about that program," Stouffer said. "There are times I felt we had programs or actions that really benefited the community."

Keeping the community in mind is what Stouffer said he always tries to do as a council member. He said he hopes his replacement will come on board with the same idea.

"Don't get your personal agenda involved in the community. It won't work. It will be heartaches and headaches for you," he advises the future council member.

Though he's retiring from the council, it's not likely Stouffer will go into hiding. He said he may direct his efforts to another municipal board later. For now he's looking forward to spending more time with his two children and four grandchildren, visiting relatives, and maybe learning about the Internet.

Stouffer lives with his wife of 39 years, Helen "Winnie" Stouffer.

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