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Tyrone municipal candidates enter race as a team

Dubbing themselves “Team Tyrone” – a current councilman, a former council woman and three other Tyrone residents announced on Friday they are candidates for positions up for election this year on the municipality’s governing body.
Councilman William C. Fink announced he was running for mayor while four other residents will seek council seats in the Republican Primary scheduled for May 17.
The council candidates are former council member Sarah Jane Miller along with W.A. “Bill” Jones, Jay Young and Brian McManigal.
The official announcement was made at the corner of W. 17th Street and Columbia Avenue. Fink said he had grown up on West 17th Street and the location is also near Mac’s Market owned by McManigal.
In a press release, Team Tyrone candidates said, “The Home Rule Charter form of government is designed to permit the election of Borough Council and mayor at large rather than by wards to represent the voters.”
The candidates asked if the charter form of government was working. They wondered if “the Home Rule redesign” made elected officials more responsible to the total electorate.
During the announcement and in the printed release, the need for the borough to work with state legislators and other local governments was mentioned as it related to bringing “new industrial and business opportunities” to the area that will offer “young people meaningful employment.”
In public comments, Fink said, “The reason we are running as a team we feel that Tyrone has a lot of opportunity and we want to take advantage of those opportunities. We want to do for the people. Communities in partnership are the answer to making Northern Blair County area grow.”
Towards that end, elected officials from Bellwood, Antis Township and Snyder Township appeared at the noontime announcement among about a dozen supporters and onlookers. Later, Fink said he understood the leaders in the surrounding communities wanted to work with Tyrone in a partnership and that’s one of the reasons they appeared at the event.
Fink also touched on how the campaign might play out from the “Team Tyrone” perspective.
“We want to go in with a clean attack. We are not planning on any mudslinging, we are not planning on any partisan politics carrying on,” said Fink. “We are doing this because we believe we have an opportunity to make Tyrone grow, and that’s why we want to do it.”
Fink was also asked about the only other announced mayoral candidate in May primary, Joshua House pastor Jim Kilmartin.
“I welcome Mr. Kilmartin and if he is as dedicated as he sounds, then I look forward to a good campaign with him,” responded Fink.
Earlier this month, two-term Mayor Patricia Stoner , a Democrat, announced she would not seek a third term. Kilmartin has said he spoke with the mayor about his candidacy and has her support.
Fink said the mayor’s race was important, “but not as important as these four people standing with me, running for council. The council is the governing body of the community…these are the people that will make the difference.
McManigal read a prepared statement saying, “Team Tyrone, as we have named ourselves, is a diverse group of people rather than the rubber stamp form of government that you have become accustomed to.”
Miller said, “I think we need a change again, nothing has changed on council since I was on it. I think the residents of this community need to be respected and they are not getting that now when they go to council meetings. She agreed Tyrone needed to work with the other communities.
Young said it was time for a change and was not happy with the way citizens have been treated at council meetings he had attended.
Jones said he was running because he felt as someone who recently turned 65, he could represent older citizens. He also mentioned the need for a better rapport with surrounding communities with the pending completion of the I-99 corridor.
There are eight members on council, including the mayor’s seat. That position and three council seats are up for four-year terms. Late last year, J.R. Watson resigned from council and Don Boytim was appointed. That seat will also be up for election this year to fill out the remainder of Watson’s term starting in January of 2006. The borough’s election process requires any council seat gained by appointment to be put on the ballot during the next general election to fill the remainder of the term. The requirement is designed to prevent someone from spending large portions of time on council as an unelected appointee.
Council could face having to make yet more appointments in the coming months.
Last month, council member Sharon Dannaway took a leave of absence to serve as interim borough manager. If she were named as permanent manager she would be required to resign her council seat. The borough is planning on addressing the appointment of a permanent manager by mid-year.
If Fink were to win election in November as mayor, he would be required to resign as a council member, thus leaving that position open for appointment as well.