If you’re living in the town of Port Matilda and believe you have something to offer your community, here’s your chance.
Mayor Bob Wiser will be on the ballot on Election Day. But Wiser has decided he doesn’t want to hold that office once his term expires at year’s end.
So he’s asking the borough’s voters to write in someone else’s name on Nov. 5.
“I just lost my interest,” he said. “I really enjoyed doing it.”
We’re sad to see Wiser go.
He has contributed much to his community, including leading the effort to build a veterans memorial there.
But the door is now open for the next leader to emerge in Port Matilda, a community with a proud history of faith, farming, education and family activities.
The arrival of Interstate 99 removed dangerous truck traffic from town streets, but also brought challenges to the local businesses that relied on passers-by for commerce. The new mayor must understand the concerns of those businesses.
A new mayor must be involved in local culture, whether it’s church bake sales or Little League baseball, the volunteer fire company or the PTO.
Wiser, 70, cited disagreements with Borough Council as a motivating factor in his stepping aside.
We urge the mayor and other elected officials to work through their problems for the good of the community, even if it’s just for the remainder of 2013.
Perhaps their differences are not so great that they can’t be overcome. Perhaps, working together, the current mayor and council can reconcile their differences and Wiser will have a change of heart.
If not, they still have been chosen by voters to make critical decisions for Port Matilda through Dec. 31, and all have an obligation to fulfill that duty, to prepare the way for the next mayor to serve.
There’s not much time before ballots will be cast.
Jodi Neidig, of the Centre County Elections Office, told the CDT that if Wiser wins the election, he would need to formally step down. Then council would appoint his replacement.
In too many instances, getting residents to run for office is a challenge. Many ballot spots go unfilled, leaving leadership voids in those towns and townships.
We urge residents of Port Matilda to not let that happen.
“I hope somebody with the qualifications steps up, puts their hat in the ring and decides to do it,” Wiser said.
It’s time for the community’s next leader to step forward.