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Council in Chambersburg needs to fill short-term vacancy

September 20, 2005|by DON AINES

dona@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Borough Council might be asking a former Fourth Ward councilman to fill the vacancy created by the resignation last week of Councilman John Redding.

Redding, who was in the final months of his third four-year term on the council, resigned at the end of the Monday, Sept. 12, meeting because he moved to a new home in the Second Ward. His resignation does not affect his run for mayor in the Nov. 8 general election.

"Strange," Redding said Monday night when asked how he felt sitting before the council rather than in the seat he has occupied for nearly 12 years. "You'd be amazed at how many times I wanted to speak out."

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In the May primary, Redding defeated incumbent Mayor Tom Newcomer for the Republican nomination. He will face Democratic nominee Jason Bitner in the election.

The Fourth Ward candidates on the Nov. 8 ballot are Republican MaryBeth Shank and Democrat Juan Catano. Neither of them, apparently, will be asked to fill the vacancy with the election so near.

Council President William McLaughlin said it would be "grossly unfair" to name Shank or Catano to the seat because it might give one an advantage over the other.

"This is a really peculiar situation because the seat is up for election," McLaughlin said. By law, however, the council has to take action to fill the vacancy within 30 days of Redding's resignation, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said.

If the council does not act during that time, the task is passed to the Vacancy Board, which is made up of the council and one member of the public, chairman C.Q. Smith, Oyer said. If a replacement is not named during that time, Smith then must ask the Court of Common Pleas in Franklin County to make the appointment.

It was suggested that the council contact George Pentz, a former councilman, to see if he is interested in filling the seat until the winner is decided in the election.

"They haven't called me yet," Pentz said Monday night. He said he was unaware he might be called on to serve again.

"I don't know if it will be yea or nay," said Pentz, who previously served 10 years on the council. "I'll have to ask my wife."

The council did name Councilman Ken Gill to replace Redding as chairman of its Finance Committee.

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