LAWRENCE COUNTY Group to recommend form of government at special meeting

The commission appears to be leaning toward a council/manager form of government.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The commission studying different forms of government for Lawrence County expects to make its final recommendation at a special meeting Saturday.
The group agreed to meet at 6 p.m. in the county government center, said Thomas Shumaker, commission chairman.
The group determined Tuesday that the validity of a vote taken last week is unclear because proxy votes were used. Two written proxy votes submitted by absent members were disputed by other members after the vote was taken.
State law in unclear on the admissibility of proxy votes, and state consultants working with the commission recommended they avoid using proxy votes, Shumaker said.
The commission decided to meet over the weekend because at least one member will be out of town next week, he said.
Other decisions
In addition to the form of government, the group will decide to recommend whether the county sheriff, controller and treasurer should be appointed or elected. It will also decide on the size of a county council and whether it should be elected by district or at large.
Shumaker said previous votes on those issues were considered to be preliminary votes. Those votes included having an elected controller and a seven-member county council, with five members elected by the district and two at large.
The commission also appears to be leaning toward recommending a county council with an appointed professional manager. The manager would run the day-to-day operations of the county, including hiring and firing, while the council would set policy.
A 5-3 vote last week favoring the council/manager form included two proxy votes.
A written report on why the recommended form of government is best must be completed by early September to get the issue on this November's ballot.

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