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Council race has no takes

June 06, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

MONT ALTO, Pa. - Faced with fewer and fewer candidates - this year there were none for three seats - the Mont Alto Borough Council is considering cutting the number of council members from seven to five, council President P. Edward Nunemaker Jr. said this week.

No one filed for the three seats being vacated by incumbents Douglas Duffey, John Flory and Michael Gossard. They chose not to file, Borough Secretary Patty Kocek said. Their terms run out Dec. 31.

A handful of candidates ran write-in campaigns in the May 20 primary, but none received the required 10 votes needed to get on the November general election ballot.

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History shows that government goes on in Mont Alto even if no one runs for public office. Write-in votes have been the key to elections in this borough of 1,300 about seven miles north of Waynesboro.

In 1997, all seven council seats were up for grabs and no one filed.

That year, more than 300 residents - about 40 percent of the borough's registered voters - cast write-in votes and elected a council.

Nunemaker and Gossard were among the winners.

The four Mont Alto incumbents whose terms don't end this year are Nunemaker, Thomas Lowson, Fred Harrington Sr. and James Powell, Kocek said.

Debra Powell is the mayor of Mont Alto.

Nunemaker said it's hard to get people to run for council, since council members don't get paid.

"It's a thankless job," he said. "The day of the volunteer is pretty much gone."

The council meets on the first Monday of the month and again on the second Tuesday if necessary, Nunemaker said. The council also sits as the borough's planning commission.

Serving "is a commitment," Nunemaker said. "You're not going to be able to please everyone with all decisions. You have to be able to take that pressure."

Another reason for the lack of candidates, Nunemaker said, is that there is no ongoing controversy in the borough.

"Things are going pretty well," he said. "No one seems to have any issues. When everything's going smooth, there's no reason to oil a squeaky wheel because there isn't one."

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