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Williamsport's mayor says he'll seek another term

February 18, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Williamsport Mayor John W. Slayman said Thursday he had been planning to "bow out gracefully" after 20 years as mayor.

He reversed course in January, when he read a Herald-Mail story about Councilman James G. McCleaf II's intention to run for mayor.

In the story, McCleaf accused Slayman of lacking leadership.

"When McCleaf called me a 'cop-out,' that ticked me off," Slayman said.

Now, Slayman, 72, is running on a slate with a candidate for assistant mayor and two council candidates.

The Independent Progressive Party nominated the slate Thursday evening at a brief convention at Williamsport Town Hall.

Previously, Slayman had not publicly made known his intention to run for a sixth term. Even his wife, Elissa, said she wasn't sure until the convention.

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McCleaf is heading his own ticket, along with a candidate for assistant mayor and two for council seats. They are running as independents.

McCleaf, 34, who was elected to the council in 2001, announced his mayoral candidacy about seven weeks ago. He proposed reorganizing the town's committees and work force and focusing on safe activities for children.

McCleaf and his running mates - Monty R. Jones, 41, for assistant mayor and Jeff Cline, 48, and Nelson F. Deal, 73, for council - filed as official candidates Wednesday.

They said they want a more open government, with better collaboration between the mayor and council members.

Jones was elected to the council in 2003. Cline and Deal have not run for office before.

Under town law, by filing Wednesday, McCleaf and Jones forfeited their council seats, leaving two vacancies.

McCleaf's seat will be filled in next month's election, but Jones' term has two years left.

Williamsport passed an ordinance in 2000 requiring anyone holding an elected town office to resign if he or she runs for a different town office.

Running with Slayman are Chris South, 55, for assistant mayor, and Kenneth Murphy, 40, and Fred M. Cole III, 31, for council. None has run for public office before.

Slayman said the Independent Progressive party secretary will file on their behalf at Town Hall today, making them official candidates.

Slayman said the slate wants to continue to help the town's senior citizens and children, work on a streetlight program and create an emergency plan.

Assistant Mayor Walter W. Tracy Jr. has said he is moving out of town and is not running again. Councilwoman Roxann L. Long, whose term is up this year, has not filed for re-election.

Clerk/Treasurer Bonnie J. Errico said as Town Hall closed on Thursday that one other person has filed to run, but there is a question about his address and he is not considered an official candidate.

The filing deadline is today at 5 p.m., when Town Hall closes.

The election is March 7 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

Residents may register to vote at Town Hall on Tuesday from 1 to 8 p.m.

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