Philipsburg has a quartet of four-year seats on Borough Council up for grabs in the general election, as well as one two-year interim term to replace an official who resigned. Six locals will seek those positions.
Harry C. Wood
Harry Wood has served on council longer than any other current incumbent. He serves as both the chairman of the fire committee and the recreation committee.
Wood is arguably the most visible of the current office holders, frequently being seen directing traffic around town during emergencies or parades. The retiree is a longtime member of Philipsburg Fire Police and an active member of the Hope Fire Department.
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He is a longtime member of Philipsburg’s Heritage Days Committee, and is largely responsible for organizing the centerpiece event, the annual Grand Parade.
Wanda D. “Twigg” McDonald
Wanda McDonald was recently appointed to fill a seat vacated by former councilman Walt Chorle. She will hold that seat until the end of the year, whether she is elected to her own position or not.
This is not McDonald’s first association with the borough. For several years, she served as the municipality’s code enforcement officer. In that position, she not only regulated the borough’s building codes and permits, but was also responsible for enforcing ordinance infractions after the closing of the borough police department.
McDonald is a former small business owner who operated a shop in downtown Philipsburg for a time.
Michael Vernon Wilks
Michael Wilks is no stranger to small town government. Not only has he been on Borough Council for years, he is also a former council president.
The longtime Penn State Office of Physical Plant employee is also carrying on a family tradition. His father, Vernon Wilks, has been a force in local politics in Rush Township for ages, and his mother, Gail, is seeking re-election as Rush’s auditor.
Wilks served on the council through its transition from a body of nine representatives of three wards to an at-large organization representing the municipality as a whole.
Barbara A. Gette
Barbara Gette has been a proud and loud advocate of local politics for years, and she doesn’t confine her involvement to the Borough Council.
Gette has been an active voice in support of state Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Rush Township, even using her Centre Street roof as a de facto billboard for a banner. She has also been involved, on the council’s behalf, in lobbying the school board on issues she believes important to the borough, such as the future of the now-closed Philipsburg-Osceola Junior High School on Sixth Street.
She serves as finance committee chairwoman and is at work on the 2014 budget, slated for submission to the full board later this month.
Sharon Goss has been a tireless advocate for children in the Moshannon Valley for years.
Goss has committed countless hours trying to make all of the recreational facilities in Philipsburg the best examples possible. In addition to selecting equipment for Cold Stream Dam Recreation Area and the 13th Street playgrounds, she has done extensive fundraising, including a recent lasagna dinner to fund improvements at the powerhouse grounds. She’s also been instrumental in securing grant funding for the projects, and rallying volunteers to help with installation and other site work.
Goss is the only candidate who is not just on the ballot for the four-year term but also the two-year term vacated by Chorle. If elected to that position, she would replace McDonald in January.
Eric Bordas has been a frequent critic of Borough Council over the past several years.
He began lobbying council for more responsiveness to resident concerns after the extensive infrastructure project, mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, that separated the borough’s sanitary sewer system from the stormwater drainage. Bordas was one of the residents who claimed that his basement flooded after the project was completed.