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Councilman to run for mayor in Pa.

October 31, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Borough Councilman Thomas Suddeth said Thursday that he is launching a write-in campaign for mayor in the wake of incumbent Mayor Thomas Ralston's announcement that he will not serve if he is re-elected.

Ralston's name is the only one on Tuesday's ballot for the position. On Oct. 14 he said he would not serve after his term ends Dec. 31 for personal reasons.

Suddeth, a six-year council veteran, would not be able to serve out the remaining two years of his current four-year term if he becomes mayor.

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The mayor's chief duty is supervising the police department. Council meetings are run by the council president; the mayor only votes in cases of ties.

Suddeth said Ralston and Police Chief Larry Thomas have been doing a good job. He said he decided to run to protect the police department.

"Anyone could run for mayor, win and do what they wanted with the police department," he said.

"Larry has good rapport with the community. He gets involved and he does a lot for the youth. I'll let him run the department and just help him with the budget," Suddeth said.

Suddeth is among the council members who are seeking an ordinance to eliminate the mayor's $500-a-year salary effective Jan. 1. Council members don't get paid and Suddeth said the mayor shouldn't, either.

"It should be an honor to serve," he said.

If Suddeth becomes mayor, the council will appoint a replacement to fill out his unexpired council term.

There are four seats up for re-election this time around, including three held by unopposed incumbents, including Council President Robert Brindle, Councilman Richard Rice and Councilwoman Judy Gossert.

Also unopposed Tuesday is newcomer Roger Defibaugh, who is running for the seat being vacated by Councilman John Pentz. Pentz announced in September he would not seek re-election.

On Oct. 14, the council appointed Elizabeth Brown to succeed Councilman Ed Twine, who resigned in September because he moved out of the borough.

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