McCammon is new council leader

January 06, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - John Cook's nomination of Charles "Chip" McCammon for president of the Waynesboro Borough Council Monday night was followed in the next breath by Councilman Ardie Winters, who moved that the nominations be closed.

Winters' move to close nominations came so fast that newly sworn-in Councilman Jahnathan Cain was stopped in mid-sentence as he tried to offer a nomination of his own.

And before the members had a chance to vote on Cook's motion nominating McCammon for president, McCammon returned the favor by nominating Cook as vice president.


Moments later, when the members voted on McCammon's nomination, Cain cast the only dissenting vote. Cook was elected vice president unanimously.

Cain said he planned on nominating Dick George, another newly elected member, as president. Cain said he became impressed with George's ability and character while he and George, as councilmen-elect, sat through budget meetings with the council.

"I got to know him, and saw his character and attributes," Cain said. "I would like to have had at least a chance to nominate him."

Cain said there were no hard feelings over the way things were done and that he will do his best to work with McCammon and Cook.

McCammon and Cook, asked later if their actions were rehearsed, said they were not.

D. Lloyd Reichard, the council's lawyer, said the council members were within their rights to close nominations immediately after a single nomination was moved, even if the action prevented further nominations.

McCammon succeeds Douglas Tengler as president. Tengler did not seek re-election.

George, a retired Waynesboro schoolteacher, succeeds outgoing Councilman Clint Barkdoll to represent Ward 1. Barkdoll, who was appointed a year ago to fill out an unexpired term, chose not to seek re-election.

The third new council member sworn in by Mayor Louis Barlup Monday was A.J. Benchoff. He replaces Allen Porter in Ward 3. Porter, who served six years, the first two of which were appointed, did not run again.

Before the reorganization, the old council under Tengler held a 15-minute executive session about legal matters. When the members emerged, Tengler announced that the council authorized itself to take legal action against the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in Harrisburg, Pa., the agency funding a controversial 22-unit, low- and moderate-income rental housing complex near the Wayne Gardens neighborhood.

It is being built by the Franklin County Housing Authority. The council, along with a group of Wayne Gardens residents, has been fighting the project, with Tengler and Barkdoll leading the council's effort.

Tengler said after he stepped down Monday that he and Wayne Gardens residents were forming a citizens group called FROG, or Friends of Wayne Gardens, to continue the fight against the project.

He and Barkdoll say there is a need for moderate-income housing in Waynesboro, but it should be owner-occupied, not rental property, so people living in the units can break the yoke of poverty through home ownership.

Neither Tengler nor Barkdoll would say what kind of legal action would be taken against the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

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