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New Williamsport Town Council members appointed

March 16, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WILLIAMSPORT -- The daughter-in-law of newly elected Williamsport Town Council member Joan E. Knode was appointed to the council Monday night and former Assistant Mayor Monty R. Jones, who decided not to seek re-election in the March 2 town election, was appointed to a second open seat on the council.

Tearza D. Knode and Jones were unanimously selected by the town council to serve on the council for two years after Mayor James G. McCleaf II recommended their appointments.

The appointments were made following a swearing-in ceremony for McCleaf, new Assistant Mayor Anthony T. Drury, and new council members Joan E. Knode and Timothy W. Fraker.

Two seats opened on the council after former council member Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. and Drury forfeited their council seats to run for the assistant mayor job in the March 2 election.

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Drury defeated Pereschuk in that race.

Tearza Knode said after Monday night's swearing-in ceremony at Town Hall that she told McCleaf she was interested in getting involved in town government. She figured it was possible to get on the council, considering how things were developing in the town election.

Tearza Knode, 34, of 240 Maplehurst Ave., Williamsport, said she was born and raised in town. She is a photographer and a preschool teacher at Church of the Holy Trinity on Oak Ridge Drive in Hagerstown.

Jones said he decided not to seek re-election because his children are growing up and his family decided they would probably soon move out of town. Jones honored McCleaf's request to serve out one of the unexpired terms since it would only be for two years.

McCleaf beat former town council member Jeffrey A. Cline by a 12-vote margin. Drury won the assistant mayor race by a 17-vote margin over Pereschuk.

Cline asked for a recount, although the re-examinaton of the ballots only changed some tallies by one or two votes, not enough to change the outcome.

After being sworn in, McCleaf reflected on how he and the council have made progress toward getting the town's finances in line. Four years ago, the town was in financial trouble with a threat of its charter being pulled, McCleaf said previously.

He talked about the town council and himself working to make Williamsport a great place to live, and "I think this is the group that will take it to the next step."

To set the tone for the new council, McCleaf repeated a phrase coined by the late former Hagerstown City Council member N. Linn Hendershot, who remarked that "life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body." Rather, Hendershot said the key is to "skid in broadside, thoroughly used up" and proclaim, "Wow, what a ride!"

"We're not going to die," McCleaf said, drawing laughter from the crowded council chambers. "We're going to be tired."

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