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A Proud Past, A Rock Solid Present, A Promising Future

Midterm Madness is finally upon us. I will be glad when the dust clears, and I don’t have to watch any political commercials. Across our great Nation, there has probably never been a more important midterm report card provided by “We the People.” There’s also probably never been more at stake.

To me, it’s a win for our Nation if there are a record number of voters at the polls. That gives the best opportunity for the right candidate to be selected, or the correct decision to be made on an issue. The more people that vote, the stronger our Nation becomes.

We need less government and more decision-making left in the hands of “We the People.” I don’t care if it’s the local dogcatcher, the more positions we can vote for the stronger America becomes.

It all begins in cities like Williamsport; you cannot allow a city council president like Jonathan Williamson to push a personal agenda and disrupt the current system of government. Talk about a confusing mess of BS, the more people I talk with and information I gather, the more confusing it becomes. It’s a simple system currently if you don’t like the mayor vote him or her out. If you don’t like the president of city council, vote them out too.

Most importantly for the voters of Williamsport, this is a nonpartisan issue. All need to Vote No and No to keep the current strong mayor form of government.

A yes vote to either or both new forms of government could result in the following for the citizens of Williamsport: 1 – Higher taxes. 2 – An over empowered City Council. 3 – A negative effect on the business leaders and economic developers that invest much more than words in the City. 4 – The incurred cost of transition and implementing a new system of government. 5 – The unknown problems of how this form of government will work with State and County officials. 6 – The loss of checks and balances to an unproven system.

You must vote. If you choose not to vote on the two questions, those that want to change what is working will win.

Please don’t be confused and think if you vote yes to one you should vote no to the other. Again, you may lose the power to elect the leader of the City and much more. You must vote No and No.

Moving right along. The best part of looking into this matter was the people I got to talk with. Thank you to everyone that reached out to me with his or her concerns or made the time to sit down and try to explain this complex issue to me.

In my article this past week I painted Williamsport City Council with a broad brush. This is often the most effective way to get to the core of complicated issues. I may have gotten a little paint on some folks that didn’t deserve it. I’ll begin with City Councilman Joel Henderson. To him, I flat-out owe an apology. He is an outstanding man of character. He is the kind of person we want in government. Let me make it clear he was not one of the individuals that have any personal animosity towards the mayor. He considers Mayor Gabriel Campana a friend and a colleague. I believe he has nothing but the best interest of the City at heart.

Councilman Henderson went on record supporting the current elected strong mayor form of government. He also provided one of the best explanations and comparisons of the different forms of government that can be read on page 21. Unfortunately for the city, Mr. Henderson will be leaving after his current term; he’s moving across the river to a family homestead.

Councilman Don Noviello provided me great insight into how this whole thing went down. I thank him for that. He explained to me how he viewed the first vote by Council as an opportunity to see if there was a better way to govern the City of Williamsport. He wanted this opportunity to be decided by the voters of Williamsport. At the time he had no idea how confusing the process would become. Councilman Noviello also went on record that he believes the current strong mayor elected by the people is the best form of government for the City of Williamsport. I also believe he has the best interest of the people at heart.

Vice President of Council Mr. Randall Allison also gave me a lengthy explanation of the process. He is truly one of nicest people you’ll ever meet. He wanted to make it clear he wanted to give the voters of Williamsport an opportunity to decide, based on how it was explained to him. He never intended for it to be a confusing process, or envisioned the questions on the ballot would be written in the manner they were. He supports whatever the people of Williamsport decide.

Councilwoman Bonnie Katz was the only one that voted no to proceeding with this attempt to change something that isn’t broken. I tip my cap to her. She openly supports the strong-mayor system that is currently in place, where the people decide the mayor of Williamsport. She also could never support a form of government where seven part-time city council people manage over a full-time city manager. Great point, Councilwoman.

The newest City Councilman Derek Slaughter was not seated when the discovery process took place as well as the voting. He is still trying to get his arms around all the information surrounding this issue. Councilman Slaughter went on record supporting whatever the voters of Williamsport decide on Election Day. He will work hard for them to make their choice successful. He is a big believer in accountability and transparency.

At the very last minute, before I penned my column, I met with Ms. Alison Duncan Hirsch Vice Chair of the Williamsport Government Study Commission. She is a very intelligent lady and made some good points. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to research her facts. She provided me with a chart that can be found on our website comparing the different forms of government.

Williamsport Historian Mr. Bruce Huffman also provided me government structure comparison charts. He is very knowledgeable on all things that are city government. They may be viewed on our website.

Note: I heard nothing from Council President Williamson or Councilwoman Elizabeth Miele in regards to my column last week, which can also be found on our website.

Get out and vote! God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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