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Mayor of Pennsylvania town tells voters to vote for someone else

Mayor of Pennsylvania town tells voters to vote for someone else

The mayor of a small town in central Pennsylvania who is running unopposed for a second term is now telling voters not to vote for him.

After missing the deadline to remove his name from the ballot, Mayor Bob Wiser decided that he wants to call it quits.

From the Centre Daily Times:

Port Matilda Mayor Bob Wiser has a different campaign message: Don’t vote for me.

Having held the post for four years, Wiser is running unopposed for a second term. Normally for an incumbent, that would be a good thing.

But after winning the spring primary handily, Wiser, 70, changed his mind. Unfortunately for him, he missed the August deadline for taking his name off the Nov. 5 ballot.

Now he’s asking Port Matilda residents to vote him out of office by writing in a qualified alternative candidate.

“I just lost my interest,” he said. “I really enjoyed doing it.”

Wiser was first appointed interim mayor in 2009 after the borough’s prior mayor of 10 years, Vi Duncan, abruptly retired. He later won a write-in campaign against the only candidate on the ballot.

While he cites the construction of a local veterans memorial as a top accomplishment, along with doing his best to “resolve local disputes about garbage, pets, parking and other issues,” according to the Centre Daily Times, Wiser sounds as though he could do without some of the other parts of the job.  Namely, arguing over the adoption of a “weed ordinance.”  Not that kind of weed – lawn weed.

But Wiser said he’s tired of butting heads with the Borough Council for two years about adopting a “weed ordinance” for making negligent homeowners clean up overgrown properties.

He thinks several Port Matilda lots are in disrepair, reflecting poorly on the rest of the town — a problem, he said, council members won’t take seriously.

“I was not able to get everything accomplished that I was pursuing and hopefully some positive changes will be enacted to make the town more presentable to our visitors and residents in the future,” Wiser wrote in the borough’s recent newsletter.

“Much needs to be done and most residents in this town take pride in their appearance of their homes and yards but the exceptions have been frustrating and unfair of the neighbors who take pride in their properties.”

The Council president disagreed with Wiser on that issue, saying he thought it was “a little intrusive” and that they didn’t want to be sending employees out to check for acceptable grass heights with a ruler.

Wiser also cited a couple of other issues that he said played a role in his decision to quit, saying, “at my age, I don’t need to be stressed out.”

This is a municipality without a police force or code enforcement officer, according to the Centre Daily Times.  So I guess it goes without saying that resolving disputes comes with different challenges there than in larger towns.

Council president Steve Kibe nonetheless said he didn’t have any personal issues with Wiser and thought he did a good job. “Vi was a fantastic mayor, and she cared deeply about the borough,” he said. “Then Bob came along, and he did the same thing. He stayed on top of things.”  He said if Wiser were re-elected, he hopes he changes his mind and serves.

Wiser plans to leave on December 31st, regardless.  If he’s re-elected and then retires, an interim mayor would be appointed by the borough council until the next municipal election.

Wiser says he “hopes[s] somebody with the qualifications steps up, puts their hat in the ring and decides to do it.”

There could be stranger circumstances, I suppose – like ending up with a cat for mayor.

Read the full story at the Centre Daily Times.


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Karen Sacandy | October 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The City Council is great! No rulers for grass.

Totally agree with them.

Something worse than a cat for mayor?

What about an empty chair for President?

Strange they call it a “weed ordinance” when elsewhere the article refers to “… garbage, pets, parking and other issues … lots are in disrepair … accumulated junk and trash outdoors …”.

Sounds like the issue involves much more than the length of the grass or weeds. Calling it a “weed ordinance” and the comment “We don’t want to send our mayor or borough employees out there with a ruler and measure grass” just sounds like the opposition’s spin, to me …