Philipsburg ponders what to do with vacant council seat

For the CDTAugust 21, 2013 

— Borough Council is short one council member. Where do they go from here?

On Monday, Walt Chorle agreed to sign the resignation letter presented to him by the borough’s code enforcement officer, saying he was not accomplishing the changes he wanted to see in Philipsburg. The code officer subsequently resigned as well.

That leaves the borough with a seat to fill. Philipsburg reduced the size of its council from nine warded seats to seven positions a few years ago. That means the vacant position is an at-large office open to qualified applicants from any area of the municipality.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, applicants must be registered voters over 18 who live in the borough. They may not hold other elected offices at the county or school board level.

Council members were divided on the question of how long the appointed position would be held, or whether a special election would be required. Chorle was almost two years into a four-year term when he resigned.

The Centre County Board of Elections said that because of the timing of the resignation, the appointment will be for two years.

Pennsylvania’s elections run on a cycle, with 2013 being a municipal election year. Four of the seven seats are on the ballot this year. Three incumbents and one newcomer already have essentially won their positions after running unopposed in the May primaries, barring a concerted write-in push in the November general election.

“The borough would just appoint someone to fill the position until either the next municipal election, or until the term is complete,” said a board of elections representative. Because of the timing, that would be the same.

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