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2 seek open Chambersburg mayoral post

October 31, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The death of Chambersburg Mayor John Redding in May means the voters of Chambersburg will be choosing between Franklin County Sheriff Robert Wollyung and Pete Lagiovane to fill the unexpired two years of his term in the Tuesday, Nov. 6, election.

Redding's death occurred after the May 15 primary and the county Republican and Democratic committees selected the two candidates to appear on the November ballot. Samuel W. Worley, a former borough council president and county commissioner, has been serving as interim mayor.

Wollyung, 68, the Republican nominee, is retiring as sheriff after four four-year terms. He also served 29 years in the Pennsylvania State Police, giving him 45 years in law enforcement. Also, his father was police chief in his hometown of Pottsville, Pa., Wollyung said.

Lagiovane, 60, spent much of his career with the U.S. Department of Energy, and has been a Chambersburg resident for 34 years. The Democratic nominee is a member of the borough's Planning and Zoning Commission and the board of directors of Chambersburg Hospital.

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"The reason I'm excited about being mayor, if I'm elected, is I believe this town needs an ombudsman to bring all groups together from all parts of the borough," Lagiovane said. One example, he said, is the school district's plans to close some borough elementary schools, including King Street Elementary.

As mayor, Lagiovane said he would work with the school district, Chamber of Commerce and community groups such as Building Our Pride In Chambersburg "to do something with the property that helps everybody."

Lagiovane said he would expand the borough's Web site to include an "Ask the Mayor" blog to give the mayor and residents a forum "to discuss issues, air grievances and establish an ongoing dialogue."

"My priority is to be sure the police department remains the excellent department that it is, since the primary role of the mayor is oversight of the department," said Wollyung, a former president of the Pennsylvania Association of Elected Officials and the Pennsylvania Sheriffs Association.

His experience in law enforcement, he said, will help him be a liaison between the department and council.

"My secondary goal is to be able to communicate some of the things that occur within the council meetings and some of the laws that have been overlooked ... inform people of their social and legal obligations," Wollyung said. That could be done online and include information on everything from weed ordinances to snow removal policies, he said.

Wollyung said he has been attending borough council meetings and studying meeting minutes since entering the race in order to familiarize himself with the issues facing the borough.

Both candidates noted that the mayor does not vote on matters before council except in the case of a tie vote.

"I see this as an extension of my community involvement," said Wollyung, a Navy veteran who listed a number of veterans clubs and community organizations to which he has belonged.

"I've done everything from being PTO president to Little League," Lagiovane said of his community involvement, which also includes Franklin County Easter Seals and Horsemanship for the Handicapped.

Chambersburg has about 5,500 registered Republicans, compared to approximately 3,900 Democrats and 1,400 registered as independents or with other parties, according to county voter registration figures.

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