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George considers re-entering political arena

January 31, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The sap isn't running, but former Franklin County Prothonotary John George may.

The Chambersburg Republican said Sunday he had just returned from tapping the maple trees in the mountains, but the trees hadn't yielded much.

George, 74, said he isn't considering another run for the office from which he retired four years ago. This time, he's thinking about running for Republican jury commissioner.

"I feel pretty much that I'm going to go through with it," George said. He may make a formal announcement later this week after talking with more people, he said.

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If he does run, he'll be the third candidate to announce for the part-time post, which pays about $8,600 a year. Franklin County Republican Committee Chairman Allen V. Twigg announced earlier this month he will run for the office.

Twigg was appointed by President Judge John R. Walker in December to serve as Republican jury commissioner until a special election is held in the May 18 primary. Twigg was named to the post following the death in November of Jury Commissioner Robert Little.

"It'll be a lot of fun," Robert Zeis, the other candidate, said regarding the election. The retired Valleybank vice president said his reason for running was the same as George's: "I need the money."

Zeis said he ran for jury commissioner several years ago, losing to Little. He called himself "a habitual volunteer" who serves with a number of community organizations.

Unlike other countywide elected positions, the office of jury commissioner has one member each from both the Democratic and Republican parties, and those offices are decided in the primary, not the November general election.

The winner of the special election will fill out the unexpired portion of Little's term. Democratic Jury Commissioner Rowe B. Byers' term expires at the beginning of 2002.

The jury commission is made up of the two elected commissioners and the president judge. The commission's duties include the selection of a jury pool for criminal and civil cases in county court.

"I'd like to remain active in politics and I might as well remain useful," George said. He served eight terms as prothonotary from 1964 to 1996 and was the county's longest serving elected official at the time of his retirement.

"I needed a job and it was a job for me," George said. The prothonotary's office maintains civil court records for the county.

Sheriff Robert B. Wollyung of Chambersburg announced last week that he will run for a third term. The Republican was elected to the post in 1991 after 28 years with the Pennsylvania State Police.

The position pays $41,117 in 1999, according to county records.

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