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Chambersburg, Pa., mayor says he will run again after all

March 09, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - He announced last month that he would not run for a second term, but on Monday Chambersburg Mayor Thomas L. Newcomer filed a petition to run in the May 17 Republican primary.

His decision sets up a race for the GOP nomination between Newcomer and Fourth Ward Councilman John A. Redding.

"I know this is a big surprise," Newcomer said Tuesday. After announcing he would not run, Newcomer said he expected someone else to step forward to run for the Republican nomination, but no one did.

"I cannot sit back and let John Redding walk into this thing with no opposition," said Newcomer, 60. To leave office, he said, would be contrary to his commitment to the issues for which he has worked during his first term.

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"I understand Mr. Newcomer indicated the citizens of Chambersburg should have a choice," Redding, 74, said Tuesday. "I certainly believe they have that opportunity now - relief from the contentious term of the past four years as opposed to my proven management style."

Redding said he was "not really surprised" by Newcomer's decision to run.

"I will advocate a smooth business approach to the responsibilities of the office of mayor," said Redding, a councilman for 12 years and chairman of the borough's Finance Committee.

"I will rely on my 35 years of experience in personnel and manpower management to insure my approach will be of a professional nature," he said.

On Feb. 28, the Borough Council voted against a study of the police department that would have cost an estimated $50,000, an idea Newcomer promoted. Redding was among the seven council members who voted it down, saying the borough could conduct an in-house study, if needed.

Newcomer said a study still is needed to examine the department's future operations, including scheduling, overtime, staffing for the department's Crime Impact Team and whether the department needs three K-9 units.

Redding said his style would mean "a much more harmonious relationship within the department and the whole of borough government."

While Redding and Newcomer will run for the Republican nomination, Jason Bitner, 28, a former Franklin County sheriff's deputy, is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for mayor.

Four years ago, Bitner ran unsuccessfully against Redding in the Fourth Ward.

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