Chambersburg mayoral candidates unopposed

April 29, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Both men running for mayor of Chambersburg are unopposed heading into the May 20 primary and won't face each other until November.

The five council members whose seats come up this year are also unopposed.

In Movember borough voters will decide between incumbent Democratic Mayor Robert P. Morris, 51, a three-term veteran, and Republican challenger Douglas A. Niemond, 67, a former Franklin County Commissioner.

Republicans enjoy a more than two-to-one majority on the city election rolls.

Morris, of 231 Glen St., said he wants one more term as mayor to continue his work improving the borough police department. As mayor Morris is in charge of the 25-member force.


Mayors in Chamersburg have little power, Morris said. Council meetings are run by the council president who is elected by his peers every two years. The mayor is not even required to attend council meetings, he said, "but I go to all of them anyway." He sits next to the council president on the bench but only votes to break a tie, he said.

"All small Pennsylvania towns run with a weak mayor and a strong council and a manager," he said. "The council runs everything."

Morris said he enjoys his work as head of the police department. A guidance counselor for the Tuscarora School District, he said he stops on most afternoons after school and confers with the police chief.

He said he has helped the department grow in recent years, addding motorcycle and K-9 units and more police cruisers. "I take credit for modernizing the department," he said.

Morris was named Mayor of the Year in 1991 by the Pennsylvania Association of Mayors.

Niemond retired as superintendent of the recreation department for the borough and the Chambersburg Area School District in 1991 after 35 years on the job. The next year he won a seat with the Franklin County Commissioners, which he held until 1996. He lost his re-election bid in the primary.

He said he will devote full time to the mayor's job if he wins. "I don't like being retired," he said.

Morris said major projects like the downtown revitalization and Letterykenny Army Depot reuse effort demand a full-time mayor.

Niemond is a member of the Chambersburg Planning Commission, the Downtown Chambersburg Planning Committee and the Franklin County 2000 study.

The Herald-Mail Articles