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Martin to head Borough Council

February 04, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A seizure of power within the Waynesboro Borough Council on Wednesday further strained relations between councilmen and was labeled a cowardly act by the member ousted as president.

Councilman Ronnie Martin was named president to succeed Craig Newcomer, who later described the two members who backed Martin as his "puppets."

The surprise change came during a meeting in which Councilman Jason Stains was absent. All six members of council attended every meeting in December and January, according to approved minutes.

"I think it was cowardly to wait until Mr. Stains wasn't here," Newcomer said.

During the "committee reports" section of Wednesday's meeting, Councilman Charles "Chip" McCammon announced he wanted council to reorganize. He nominated Martin for president and was supported by Ben Greenawalt.

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Martin and Greenawalt next voted to make McCammon the new vice president.

Newcomer and Councilman C. Harold Mumma, the former vice president, opposed the leadership transition.

When approached by a reporter after the meeting, McCammon said "no comment" before any questions were asked. Martin would not comment on the decision or process.

"If a major decision like that is made, all council should be there. ... Not all the wards were represented," Newcomer said, who told meeting attendees that it's "sad there are a few members of council in it for their own personal gain."

The borough council traditionally reorganizes after municipal elections, but the members retain the right to do it at any time.

Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger asked for a couple of weeks in which Newcomer and Mumma be permitted to sign checks. The bank needs to be notified and stamps changed, he said.

In other business, the council looked at bricks that might be used on downtown sidewalks. Former state Sen. Terry Punt secured $500,000 for the project before his retirement at the end of 2008.

Borough council and staff have decided to use bricks, rather than the stamped concrete used elsewhere in town. They now are looking to allocate additional money to use clay bricks, which masons say last longer.

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