Four candidates seeking two open seats in Waynesboro

May 15, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Three Waynesboro Borough Councilmen are stepping down this year and while there are four candidates for the Ward One and Ward Three seats, no one has filed for Ward Two.

That ballot will be empty for Tuesday's primary election.

The three incumbents leaving office are Council President Douglas Tengler, who represents Ward Two; Allen Porter, who represents Ward Three; and Clint Barkdoll, who represents Ward One.

Barkdoll has been on the board for less than a year.

The two candidates running for the Ward One seat are Michael Cermak and Richard "Dick" George. Both Democrats are making their first bids at local politics.


Cermak, 58, is a 15-year resident of Waynesboro. He lives at 135 E. Second St. with his wife, Sandie.

A businessman, Cermak manages a ribbon-manufacturing company in Hagerstown.

He spent 22 years in management and thinks government should be run like a business.

"In my view, business has to answer to its stockholders so government should answer to its stockholders, in this case the taxpayers," Cermak said.

"Too many times government thinks it can keep raising taxes. You can't do that in business. You can't keep raising prices. You have to work with what you have," he said.

Cermak said government needs to spend its money more efficiently.

"Waynesboro's tax base is not getting any bigger and costs are not going down," he said.

George, 68, and his wife, Kaye, live at 409 Walnut St.

He has been a teacher and coach for 37 years, the last 14 as athletic and activities director at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

George said he's running to repay the community that supported him during his years as athletic director. "I don't have an agenda, but I have the desire to work with other members of the council to bring improvement to our borough. I make no promises other than I will be informed on the issues, consult with my constituents and make informed decisions," he said.

He promised to work with Main Street Waynesboro Inc. and other agencies in revitalizing the community.

The Ward Three primary pits two Republicans against each other - Andrew "A.J" Benchoff, 25, and Ken Koll, 34. Both are campaigning for the first time.

Benchoff, a Waynesboro attorney, lives at 104 W. Main St. A bachelor, he is engaged to be married. He is a life-long Waynesboro resident. He graduated from Waynesboro Area Senior High School in 1995, from Mount Saint Mary's College in 1999 and from Dickinson Law School in 2002.

He majored in political science in college.

"I have always voted since I was 18," he said. "I'm becoming part of this community and I want to get involved.

"There is a younger constituency in Waynesboro. There is a need for a representative on the council for the younger generation," he said.

Waynesboro is "nicely situated to have more growth and posterity, but it has to come from within. We need to make the downtown area more aesthetically pleasing so all business doesn't go east to Washington Township."

Koll, 34, of 432 Scott Ave., was president of Main Street Waynesboro Inc., for two years. His term expired last week.

A proponent of downtown revitalization, Koll said he has worked closely with Carol Henicle, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Area Chamber of Commerce on downtown projects. He said his work on Main Street Waynesboro gives him the experience he needs to serve in local government.

He said he believes one of the biggest problems facing the borough is the condition of its downtown business core. "It's a blighted district. That's why the borough is eligible for Community Development Block Grant money," he said.

"Being labeled a blighted area by the state is embarrassing."

Koll is a blood transfusionist contractor at Washington County Hospital.

Council members serve four-year terms and earn $75 a month.

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