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Newcomer renamed council president

February 18, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Craig Newcomer was renamed president of the Waynesboro Borough Council Wednesday after being ousted from the position Feb. 4.

Councilman Jason Stains was absent from the last meeting in which Charles "Chip" McCammon, Ronnie Martin and Benjamin Greenawalt surprised Newcomer by announcing a reorganization and appointing Martin as president. That left Newcomer and C. Harold Mumma in the minority for support of the existing council makeup.

At Wednesday's meeting, two residents praised Newcomer before Stains spoke up.

"I would've loved to be here for the meeting because I believe we could've worked out something of a higher quality for our community. ... That being said, I move for the reorganization of the council," said Stains, who had an unexpected work situation that caused him to miss the last meeting.

Saying he "will not see this council split," Martin joined Newcomer, Stains and Mumma in reappointing Newcomer president.

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McCammon and Greenawalt voted against the idea.

Stains "is not going to be here again and we'll do it all over again. Yes, we will," McCammon said.

Of the two residents who spoke prior to the vote and the two others who spoke after it, all urged council members to move beyond their differences and focus on working for the people.

"I thought that was maybe a coup that somebody in Venezuela or somewhere else could maneuver. ... It was not a good move," said Frank Bittner of Anthony Avenue.

"I hope going forward, we can make better names for ourselves in the newspaper and in the community," Stains said.

The council tied when deciding whom to appoint as vice president. The mayor broke the tie in favor of Mumma.

McCammon would not provide a specific answer when asked what prompted his Feb. 4 push for reorganization. He said Newcomer and Mumma "run this council," and there has been talk of miscommunication.

"This council has been split since Day 1, and you don't know the reasons we did it," McCammon said during this week's meeting.

"Let's get this out of the way. Let's be united," Martin said. "We've done a lot of good things."

The borough council traditionally reorganizes after municipal elections, but the members retain the right to do it at any time. Newcomer asked the council's legal counsel to look at creating a rule that all members must be present for an unscheduled reorganization.

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