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Lawrence to proceed with study commission



Published: Wed, December 5, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

The study commission

must meet and organize

by Dec. 19.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Lawrence County will have a government study commission.

There was some question as to whether the board could convene, given some election complaints about a campaign for write-in commission candidates.

County election board solicitor Tom Leslie said the complaints stemmed from newspaper advertisements placed by the Lawrence County League of Women Voters urging voters to write in candidates’ names. The league had not registered as a political action committee as required by state law.

Leslie said that matter has been turned over to the county district attorney and will have no effect on the commission.

The entire idea of a study commission came into question when only five people filed election petitions to be on the 11-member board. If 11 people were not elected, the commission would not form even if voters agreed that one should be formed.

Election board members were also concerned that if any of the write-in candidates decided not to serve on the board, it would invalidate the creation of the commission.

Leslie said a state expert told him that it would not invalidate the commission’s existence and would be treated as any other board vacancy. That means that the study commission would appoint a new member to replace anyone not wishing to serve, he said.

Study commission members have until Dec. 14 to be sworn in by a common pleas court judge and the commission must meet and organize by Dec. 19, according to state law.

The county election board certified all results Tuesday.

This is the county’s second government study commission in the past five years. A previous board’s recommendation to switch to a county council and appointed department heads for county functions was rejected by voters.

cioffi@vindy.com


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