Council approves termination of borough manager

LEWISTOWN — Scott Welham’s employment as Lewistown Borough manager was terminated Monday following a 4-2 vote that was approved during the borough council’s regular meeting.

“All I can say is that council no longer desired to have Mr. Welham be in the manager’s position for the borough,” Venus Shade, borough council president, said Tuesday.

Board members voting in favor of terminating Welham’s employment were Dave Campbell, Mark Sievers, Larry Searer and Bill Wilson. Those opposed were Shade and Jim Felmlee. Frank Berrier was absent from Monday’s meeting, Shade said.

The borough president did not indicate why council wished to terminate Welham’s employment. However, Dave Campbell said while he could not disclose what was discussed during the council’s executive session, he felt Welham and council members did accomplish “positive things” during Welham’s time as borough manager, adding he feels the borough has “a positive future ahead.”

Attempts made to contact other board members for comment were unsuccessful.

Shade said Welham was escorted off the premises by Lewistown Police Department, as is procedure when an employee is terminated.

The vote followed an executive session that was held after the start of the meeting and was not on the agenda for the evening.

“I think Mr. Welham has done some very good things for the borough and I wish him well,” said Shade.

When contacted Tuesday, Welham said the termination was “a complete shock.”

“I did not feel it was justified, but borough council has the authority to hire and fire at will,” he said.

Welham has been the manager of Lewistown Borough for three years and said he took the position as a way to give back to the borough.

“I genuinely love Lewistown,” he said. “My wife and I have been homeowners in Lewistown for over 30 years and it’s a great place to live, work and play.”

“We did a lot of great things in three years, one of the things that I’m most proud of –when I became the borough manager, there was $24,000 in the general borough capital account. Three years later, there is now over a half million dollars in the general borough capital account without raising taxes and just keeping the eyes on the day-to-day daily expense control.”

Dianna Walter was appointed interim manager until the manager position is filled, said Shade. Walter will receive the same compensation as Welham until a permanent replacement is found.