It’ll be the second government study in five years.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. — Lawrence County commissioners have started the process to allow voters to decide if they want to change the form of county government.
Commissioner Ed Fosnaught introduced an ordinance Tuesday that would place a question on this fall’s ballot asking voters if they want to form a government study commission. Commissioners were asked to place the issue on the ballot by the Lawrence County League of Women Voters.
The commission, made up of 11 people also elected in November, would recommend to voters whether the government should remain the same, or be changed to an optional form of government or a home rule charter government.
An optional form of government would mean that certain parts of the existing government could be changed and others remain the same. A home rule charter government would allow voters to change the entire structure.
Currently Lawrence County has three elected county commissioners and elected row officers for each function of government.
Up for a vote
Commissioner Steve Craig said he supports putting the issue on the ballot, but he does not support a change of government.
“I think the form we have now is the best,” he said, explaining voters can put people in and out of office.
Commissioner Dan Vogler was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
Fosnaught said the ordinance must be advertised in a newspaper and then commissioners must vote on it at a formal meeting. If it passes, it will then be sent to the election board to be placed on the ballot.
Fosnaught suggested the county send a letter to all registered voters explaining the process and encouraging people to run for spots on the commission. The commission is a nonpartisan group which will study all aspects of the government and make a recommendation to voters if change is warranted. Voters will then decide if any changes are made.
Lawrence County voters defeated a referendum five years ago recommended by a previous study commission to change the government form to an appointed manager and an elected county council.