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Deal leaves Williamsport town council

June 08, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT - Nelson F. Deal resigned from the Williamsport Town Council on Monday because of health problems, Mayor James G. McCleaf II said Thursday.

"I have now approached a life of over 76 years with certain deteriorating non-repairable parts that are resulting in an unacceptable level of responsible work," Deal wrote in his resignation letter.

Deal, who did not return a message left at his home Thursday, was elected in 2005.

McCleaf said Gloria J. Bitner has agreed to fill the remaining two years of Deal's term. If the rest of the council approves her appointment during Monday's meeting, Bitner will be sworn in.

She was on the council for 14 years, but didn't run for re-election in March, saying she was gearing up for retirement and planning to spend more time with her family.

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Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $2,500 a year.

Deal is known for his enthusiasm for the Little League, an announcer with a booming voice - and as an advocate for the Williamsport Community Band.

At council meetings, Deal spoke proudly and protectively about the town pool, whose operations he oversaw as a councilman.

McCleaf said Deal's experiences and love of the town have helped guide him as mayor. "If ever there was a Mr. Williamsport ...," he said.

"I love Mr. Deal," Councilman Jeff Cline said. They've known each other since Cline was a Little League player and Deal was a league official.

Later, "we became rookie council members together," Cline said.

Cline, McCleaf, Deal and Assistant Mayor Monty R. Jones ran, and won, as a ticket in 2005.

That also was the last time the town had a council vacancy in the middle of a term. Jones resigned from his council seat that year to run for assistant mayor.

Deal's resignation letter expresses his gratitude.

"I appreciate the kindness extended to me as the Senior Councilman and the opportunities granted these past two years," the letter says. "May we always recall the words of (former baseball star) Roberto Clemente who said: 'If you have a chance to make a difference and you don't do it, you have wasted your life.'

"This council has made a difference, and I am very proud to have served accordingly. I bid you my fondest farewell."

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