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Government study panel needs 2 more members



Published: Thu, December 13, 2007 @ 2:00 a.m.

The commission will have its first meeting Tuesday.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU

NEW CASTLE, Pa. — The first order of business for Lawrence County’s government study commission will be to find two new members.

Two of the six people elected as write-in candidates for the commission declined membership, said Marlene Gabriel, county elections director.

Donald Currie, who received 1,740 write-in votes, and Dwayne Evans, who received 1,557 votes, did not respond to notices that they had been elected to the 11-member board. They could not be reached Wednesday.

James Gagliano, county administrator, who is also serving on the county elections board, said the new commission will have to appoint two new members when it meets.

The group is scheduled to be sworn in as a commission at 8:15 a.m. Friday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. The members have scheduled their first public meeting for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Lawrence County commissioner’s meeting room at the county government center.

The commission will have nine months to study Lawrence County’s government and make recommendations that must ultimately be voted on by residents.

This is the county’s second government study commission. A recommendation to eliminate the county commissioners and elected county row officers in favor of a county council and appointed department heads failed five years ago.

This second attempt at government reform nearly didn’t make it past the election. Only five people filed election petitions seeking posts on the 11-member, nonpartisan board. Even if voters passed the resolution to create the study commission, it would automatically fail if 11 people were not elected, according to state law.

The Lawrence County League of Women Voters ran a write-in campaign asking voters to write in names of seven other people who took out election petitions but did not return them. Each write-in candidate needed 200 votes to get elected. Voters responded overwhelmingly with each of the write-in candidates receiving more than 1,000 votes each.

Nine who are elected are John Russo Jr., Mark A. Panella, Bradley G. Olsen Sr., Loretta Hogans, David Kennaday, Charles Bell, Richard Audino, Joe Cicero and John DiSanti.

cioffi@vindy.com


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