Council hires borough manager

LEWISTOWN – Lewistown Borough Council voted to hire a new borough manager during a regular meeting Tuesday night.

After an executive session discussion, the council held a roll call vote to hire John White, of 8 Redwood Drive, Lewistown, as borough manager. The vote ended 5-2, with councilmen Larry Searer and Justin Trego voting against White.

“I believe there was a more qualified applicant,” Searer said after the meeting. “This other person had experience with municipal government, which made me feel as if he was a better candidate for the position.”

Council vice president Gregg O’Donnell said White has worked in various managerial positions while working at 84 Lumber.

He said White is licensed to inspect homes for plumbing and electrical work. White also has experience developing budgets for different 84 Lumber locations and has evaluated budget processes. O’Donnell also said White has taken business classes which give him learned skills to help with the position of borough manager. White has had no previous experience in municipal government, but O’Donnell said White’s business experience make him a good fit for the job.

Searer asked Mayor Deb Bargo during her report why she suggested to a neighborhood block watch group that previous borough manager, Connie Lucas, not speak at a meeting.

Bargo responded, saying she felt as if Lucas was going to speak about municipal government and that because Lucas was no longer part of government, Bargo felt it would not be proper for her to do so.

After some complaints from both Lucas and members of the public in attendance, Bargo said she did not tell the organization that Lucas could not speak and left the final decision up to the group.

Council president Russ Rager stopped the conversation, stating this could be discussed after the meeting was over and the council meeting was not the place to address these issues.

The council also approved to officially suspend street sweeping and maintenance-related parking regulations from Nov. 25 through March 31. Trego voted no, saying he would like to see the sweeper run year-round, because it could help with snow removal.

Borough superintendent Tony Grose said the new street sweeper was delivered Tuesday and the council said it would like to see the new sweeper used past Nov. 25, but also said that if the sweeper is used, no street sweeping-related parking tickets would be issued.

In other business the council:

Approved change orders to the Waste Water Treatment Plant and General Improvements Project

Accepted change orders to the Victory Park Sewer Interceptor Rehabilitation Project

Appointed Boyer & Ritter as independent auditor of 2014 calendar year

Approved both facility requests from the Kiwanis Club for the Christmas Parade and the Pancake Festival

Approved the facility request from Star Country Carriage Rides during the Festival of Ice

Voted to approve a handicapped parking space request at 368 W. Fifth St, for Edith McCloskey

Approved three sewer exoneration requests

Authorized to reschedule the Dec. 23 council meeting to Dec. 30, as there are not enough days between the first and second meeting to advertise for consideration of budget adoption at the second meeting

Approved to close the borough administrative offices on Nov. 29.

Lewistown Borough Council regularly meets at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at the Lewistown Municipal Building, located at the corner of Third and Main streets.