Hertzog named new council president
By: GARY P. KLINGER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
Ephrata Borough Council has elected Dale Hertzog to be its new president.
But before the highlight moment of each borough’s re-organizational meeting every two years, the first order of business at Tuesday gathering was for Mayor Ralph Mowen to administer the oath of office to those members beginning new terms. Among them is a new face. Melvin W. Weiler was elected to replace former council member Russell Shirker, who chose not to run for re-election last November. A. Anthony Kilkuskie, who just completed two years as council president, along with Robert Good and Dale Hertzog, were all sworn in for fresh four-year terms, while sitting council member George DiIlio was also sworn in, but for a two- year term. Last year, DiIlio was elected by council to fill the remainder of the year covering the vacancy created by the sudden resignation of Wendy Perillo. DiIlio was then required to stand for election to fill the remaining two years of Perillo’s term.
As for council’s new leader, Hertzog was elected by a 5-3 vote. Vic Richard was also nominated to serve as president, but fell short when Hertzog won in the first round of voting. Susan Rowe ran unopposed to serve as council vice-president. Similarly Tom Reinhold was elected president pro-temp to preside over council meetings in the event that both the president and vice president are unable to attend a meeting.
Pennsylvania municipalities are required to hold re-organization meetings every other year (biennial) on the first Monday after New Year’s. With New Year’s falling on a Sunday this year, and Monday being a federal holiday, reorganization was set for Tuesday. Typically, Ephrata Borough Council meets for its working session on the first Monday of the month, then holding its regular or voting session on the second Monday of the month. Both of these meetings begin at 7 p.m. and are held in borough council chambers at the borough hall. The public is invited to attend these meetings which always include a public comment period to receive questions and feedback from local residents.
Hertzog shared some thoughts at the beginning of his term.
"I want to thank council for all their support and I will make you proud," said Hertzog addressing the council.
In an interview after the meeting, Hertzog explained the role of the council president.
"Per borough code, the role does not carry a ton of responsibility other than presiding over council meetings and providing the official signatures on various documents," explained Hertzog. "I want to preside over very clean meetings characterized by decorum, dignity and efficiency."
Hertzog said he sees his role as council president as being about inspiring, encouraging, even coaching his fellow council members.
"I look to serve as a resource or to help support them by making information available as needed," he added. "I want to be a voice of consensus."
Going into this first year of a two-year term as president, Hertzog outlined three of his main goals. First he will work to keep power rates competitive. Second, he will seek to set the borough on a path toward greater efficiencies.
"Greater efficiencies organization-wide does not mean cutting workers," Hertzog emphasized. "We need to find ways to efficiently do the things we do. This applies to everybody from council to staff to those working for staff."
Hertzog also said he intends to lead council to stay involved with the Pennsylvania legislative process as it relates to the borough.
"I want to make sure we get our voice heard on the things that affect the borough," said Hertzog.
Interestingly, one of the first things he asked of council was permission to turn his own president’s gavel on a wood lathe. Hertzog explained that as a wood worker this would be meaningful to him.
At next week’s regular voting session of council, the reorganization process will be completed with the appointment of committee assignments, as well as those to serve on commissions and board for the coming year. As of press time, no proposed list of appointments had been made available.
For additional information on Ephrata Borough, visit ephrataboro.org. Gary P. Klinger welcomes your comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. More EPHRATA BOROUGH, page A7