31 “Concerned Citizens for a Better Columbia” come for information

Here I come …mightymouse

31! | That’s the number of citizens who showed up Sunday afternoon to find out about what it takes to run for office in Columbia in the 2019 election. Overwhelmingly, the folks who came to the meeting hosted by borough residents who opened their home at 500 Chestnut Street, Columbia, were a lot less interested in partisan politics than they were in crusading for transparency, open-communication, civility, conservative fiscal practices and collaboration in local government.

FOX43-TV news report with video | Columbia taxpayers want to oust current council members

Just like Mighty Mouse, the citizens are hoping to “save the day” in what they deem  insensitive, cloaked, and disdainful government practices in the borough.

The newly coordinated Concerned Citizens for a Better Columbia initiative is planning to schedule a series of training and conversational meetings between now and early February. “A nomination petition is filed by a candidate seeking access to a primary ballot. Nomination papers are filed by candidates of minor political parties and political
bodies for the purpose of gaining access to the ballot in a November election.

Nomination  petitions must be circulated and filed between the 13th Tuesday and the 10th Tuesday preceding the primary.  


First day to circulate and file nomination petitions … …………………………………….February 19
Last day to circulate and file nomination petitions ……………………………………………March 12
First day to circulate and file nomination papers……………………………………………….March 13
Last day for withdrawal by candidates who filed nomination petitions……………March 27
Last day to REGISTER before the primary…………………………………………………………….April 22
Last day to apply for a civilian absentee ballot…………………………………………………….May 14
Last day for County Board of Elections to receive voted civilian absentee ballots ..May 17

Citizens wishing more information can contact the Lancaster County Board of Elections or look at this Department of State pamphlet. Future training and information meetings will be posted at Columbianewsandviews.com and ColumbiaSpy.com.

Elective Offices
The registered voters of a borough elect the following officers:
• Mayor
• Council members (number varies)
• Tax collector
• Three auditors or one controller (except where an independent auditor is appointed)

In boroughs not divided into wards, seven council members are elected.

However, if the last official census shows a population of less than 3,000 people, the number of council members can be reduced from seven to five or three by a
court after a hearing on the petition of five percent of the registered voters of the borough to the court of common pleas. If the population of the borough later goes back above 3,000 people, the number of council members will automatically
revert to seven.

In boroughs divided into wards, one or two (or three if they had that many per ward prior to January 1, 1966) council members are elected from each ward.

When a borough council elected by wards consists of more than seven members, five percent of the registered voters of the borough can petition the court of common pleas to reduce the size of council from each ward, except that council
may not consist of less than seven members. After a hearing, the court may reduce the number of council members selected from each ward from three to two or one, or from two to one.

In boroughs not divided into wards, all officers are elected at large by the voters of the entire borough. In boroughs divided into wards, council members are elected by the voters of each ward, and other officers are elected at large.

Term of Office: Borough officials are elected at the municipal election held in odd-numbered years. With the exception of auditors, whose terms run for six years, all other elected officials serve a four-year term. The term of office begins the first Monday of January after the election.

In each borough, half the council is elected every two years so that council members have overlapping terms.

One auditor is elected at each municipal election.

Qualifications: Only registered voters of a borough are eligible to hold elective offices. This means borough officers must be 18 years old and residents of the borough for at least one year prior to their election. Council members are required to be residents of the ward from which they are elected.

The residency requirements may be waived by boroughs with a population of less
than 150 people.

Incompatible Offices | Borough Officers. No individual is permitted to hold more than one elective borough office.

Any borough official, however, is eligible to hold any appointive borough office where there is no incompatibility in fact.

However, no elected official may serve as an employee in a borough with a population of at least 3,000 people, unless they were employed prior to the 2010 census or a subsequent census that indicates an increase to 3,000 or more people.

A school director is not eligible for an elective borough office.

No borough officer may be a member of a zoning hearing board.

The zoning officer may not hold any elective office in the borough.

No elective county officer may serve as borough council member, treasurer or tax collector.

No magisterial district judge may hold any other elected or appointed public office.

Borough elected officers may be appointed to serve as members of municipal authorities created by the borough.

However,the articles of incorporation of an authority may prohibit elected officials from serving on the board.

An elected official violates the State Ethics Act if he votes to appoint himself to an authority board from which he receives compensation.

An elective officer of a borough cannot hold the office of civil service commissioner. However, one member of the commission may be a member of the borough council.

No election officer is eligible for any civil office (except election officer) on the ballot at any primary or election where they are serving.

According to at least one county court, a mayor may not be appointed to the board of a municipal authority created by the borough.

Whenever a vacancy occurs in any elective borough office, council fills the vacancy by appointing, by resolution, a registered voter of the borough, or the ward in the case of a ward-elected office. If council fails to fill the vacancy within 30 days, the vacancy is filled within 15 additional days by a vacancy board, consisting of the borough council, but not the mayor, and one registered voter of the borough. The registered voter is selected by council at council’s first meeting each calendar year (or as soon thereafter as practical) and acts as chair of the vacancy board.

If the vacancy board fails to fill the vacancy within the allotted time, the chair of the vacancy board must petition the court of common pleas to fill the vacancy. In the case of a vacancy in the chair, the remaining members of the vacancy board must petition the court of common pleas.

A person appointed to a vacancy holds office, if the term continues so long, until the first Monday in January after the first municipal election occurring more than 60 days after the vacancy occurs. At this election an eligible person is elected to fill the office for the remainder of the term. In the case where there are vacancies in more than a majority of the offices of council, the court of common pleas fills the vacancies upon presentation of a petition signed by not less than 15 registered electors of the borough.

Any borough official who resigns from office is ineligible for reappointment
to that office during the remainder of the term or for a period of one year, whichever is less, if reappointment would increase their salary. (SOURCE: PA DCED, Elective Office in Local Government)

One comment

  1. The motivation remains. Considering the regular council meeting on January 8th and the three meetings held by the citizens, all within one month and all with excellent attendance, looks like residents really do want their voices heard.

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