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Greencastle gets mayoral candidate for November

August 24, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - When it came time to interview potential candidates for the mayoral job in Greencastle, Robert Eberly was on the short list.

In fact, he was the list.

Eberly, 62, was the only person interviewed Monday night by the two members of the Franklin County Republican Committee representing the borough, although the number of names being considered started with eight, according to committee Chairman Roger Beckner.

"We narrowed it down to three and then two," Beckner said Tuesday. Monday morning, however, the other person on the list withdrew, he said.

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"I didn't know that until I showed up at the meeting," Eberly said.

Eberly will appear on the ballot for mayor in the November general election, replacing Mayor Robert "Red" Pensinger, the one-term incumbent who won the May primary but asked by the Aug. 15 deadline that his name be pulled from the ballot.

"It was just a difference of opinion with the council over the police department," Pensinger, 72, said Tuesday of his reason for not running for re-election. "Our department right now is below what is was five years ago and, of course, this area has grown so much bigger."

While Greencastle has not experienced the growth of surrounding Antrim Township, Pensinger said the effects of that growth are felt by the department, which does not patrol the township, but is sometimes asked by Pennsylvania State Police to respond to incidents outside its jurisdiction.

The department has three full-time and six part-time officers now, but had five full-time officers a few years ago, Pensinger said.

Eberly said he has not followed the difference of opinion on the future of the department and has no position at this time.

"I don't have any agenda," Eberly said. "I told them I saw the mayor's position as trying to keep the council working together. I wouldn't expect them to agree on everything, but I would hope they would disagree agreeably."

Semi-retired from the real estate business, Eberly said the mayor has no vote, except to break ties, and little influence on budget issues, but he can advise the council on issues where he has some expertise. Part of his role, he said, "is to promote Greencastle as a good place to live and work."

Beckner said Eberly, a district justice in the 1970s, was asked to brief the committee members on his qualifications and answer questions they posed. Two other members of the community were asked to sit in on the interview to provide additional input, if he was required to vote to break a tie, but that was not necessary, he said.

The Democratic Party fielded no candidates in the primary and Eberly will be unopposed unless a write-in candidate comes forward, Beckner said.

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