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New officials are set to take oath of office

January 05, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Newly elected and re-elected county, judicial and municipal officials are expected to attend this morning's swearing-in ceremony in the Franklin County Courthouse, although members of the Chambersburg Borough Council elected to be sworn in Friday before District Justice Gary Carter rather than tonight at their scheduled reorganizational meeting.

"I wanted to do something a little different and add some solemnity to the occasion, and the mayor didn't agree," Council President William F. McLaughlin said Sunday of Mayor Thomas Newcomer. McLaughlin said he wanted Franklin County President Judge John R. Walker to swear in members of council, but the mayor wanted to administer the oaths.

Newcomer said he and McLaughlin spoke briefly about reorganization about three weeks ago.

"I was going to go with the agenda and, as far as I was concerned, I was going to give the oath to those council members who needed to be sworn in," Newcomer said.

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The agenda for the biennial organization meeting calls for Newcomer to be in charge of the meeting for the oaths and seating of council members, and election and seating of the council president and vice president.

"Rather than create an incident and embarrass the borough of Chambersburg and Judge Walker, we went in another direction," McLaughlin said. While he and Newcomer have been at odds over management of the police department and a number of other issues during the past two years, McLaughlin said Friday's swearing in was not done to embarrass the mayor, but "he can read into it anything he wants."

"This is not an issue I'm going to lose any sweat over," Newcomer said. The council members were within their rights to be sworn in by the district justice, although "it caught me off guard," he said.

"I guess after my time as mayor, I can take a lot of things," he said. Newcomer said he thought his relations with the council had improved in the past year.

Carter administered the oath to McLaughlin, fellow incumbents Ruth M. Harbaugh, Sharon A. Bigler and Robert A. Wareham Sr., and newly elected councilwoman Elaine M. Swartz.

Expected at the 9 a.m. ceremony in the courthouse today are re-elected County Commissioners G. Warren Elliott, Bob Thomas and Cheryl S. Plummer; Judge Douglas W. Herman, who won a retention vote in November; and new District Justices Kelly L. Rock and Richard L. Alloway II.

Clerk of Courts William Vandrew, Controller Carol Fix Diller, Coroner Jeffrey R. Conner, District Attorney John F. Nelson, Prothonotary Linda Beard, Register and Recorder Linda Miller and Sheriff Robert B. Wollyung all were re-elected in the November general election.

The first Monday in January is the traditional day for municipalities to hold their reorganizational meetings, but elected officials from the boroughs and townships also are invited to take part in the swearing-in ceremony, Elliott said last week.

The county commissioners also will hold their reorganizational meeting today, according to the commissioners' agenda.

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