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Third Republican enters race for Franklin Co. Commissioner

February 20, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Promising to be an "all-day, every-day" commissioner, retired federal analyst Carl Barton has become the latest entrant in the race for the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.

In his announcement, Barton, a Republican, said he will give up the difference between a commissioner's salary and the annual pay of his last full-time job and donate it to county children and youth programs. Commissioners are paid $63,458 this year, according to county figures, and the difference is approximately $20,000, Barton said.

"The current manner of presenting the budget is not customer-friendly and is not very informative ... Most budgets provide more details," said Barton, 65, of Chambersburg. He cited about $26 million in capital improvements listed "as one line" in the 2006 and 2007 budgets without specifics on how much would be spent on projects such as a new jail and 911 center improvements.

The county doubled taxes between 2001 and 2006, Barton said Monday, including a 14 percent increase in 2004 following a 2003 election year budget with no increase.

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"Election year planning is balance the budget and don't worry about next year," Barton said. The county needs full-time management by the commissioners and a five-year plan to help control spending, he said.

If capital improvement costs can be reduced in the future, Barton said more money could be devoted to higher salaries for county employees, a number of whom have been lured to neighboring Cumberland County by higher wages.

The county needs to address increasing some employee salaries without resorting to large tax increases, he said.

Before retirement, Barton's last job was as a consultant for the University of Pittsburgh, working with the PA Child Welfare Training Program to provide assistance to counties in areas such as child welfare, juvenile justice, drugs and alcohol and foster care.

Barton joins two other announced candidates for the two Republican nominations in the May 15 primary, incumbent Commissioner Bob Thomas and Douglas J. Tengler, the former president of the Waynesboro (Pa.) Borough Council. Attorney Clint Barkdoll of Chambersburg has announced he is seeking a Democratic nomination.

Last week, Board Chairman G. Warren Elliott, a Republican, and Democrat Cheryl Plummer announced they would not seek re-election.

Barton, who ran unsuccessfully for a Chambersburg Area School District school board seat in 2005, said he is developing a campaign Web site, www.BartonFTCommissioner.com.

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