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Mercersburg sticks with choice of borough manager

January 20, 2000|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - An opinion by the Borough of Mercersburg's attorney that the Borough Council correctly followed its own policies in hiring Michael Collins for borough manager ended a brief controversy that had temporarily taken the job away from him.

Borough Council President Thomas Heefner said Collins has now been officially hired and will begin his new duties Monday at an annual salary of $30,000.

Collins 39, of West Seminary Street, resigned from his job as chief groundskeeper of the athletic fields at Mercersburg Academy effective Thursday. He said last week that he resigned after being told by Heefner that the council had hired him to replace Jim Leventry as borough manager.

Leventry quit in December to take a similar post in White Hall, Pa.

Last week the council at a special meeting put Collins' job on hold until its attorney could determine if the board followed correct procedures.

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Three council members had questioned whether the borough's hiring policies were followed when only Collins, out of six candidates who applied for the manager's job, was interviewed. They also questioned whether Collins met the basic qualifications for the job and whether a proper background check was conducted.

The questions were sent to the borough attorney to review. According to Heefner the attorney agreed that all was in order. Heefner said the council also received additional favorable references on Collins.

"There is no question now that he's the best person for the job," Heefner said. "We have some exemplary references. I feel certain we made the right choice."

Councilman Thomas Suddeth had cast the lone dissenting vote against hiring Collins because he didn't think his experience qualified him to earn $30,000 a year.

Suddeth said Thursday that while he still feels the same way, he believes Collins will grow into the job. "He learns quickly," he said.

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