Move to reduce McAdoo council size is denied by county judge
The attempt by Mayor Dane Watro to bring "civility" to the council table in McAdoo by having the number of counciilmen reduced from seven to five was denied by Judge Jacqueline Russelll in a decision handed down in Schuylkill County Court on Thursday.
"No factual evidence showed that a smaller council would include members more dedicated to doing the necessary work," Russell stated in her ruling.
Watro and the seven member council had presented a petition to court signed by 248 registered voters of the borough to make the reduction.The council body had acted at a meeting earlier this year approving the mayor's proposal for the reduction.
However, by the time the issue reached a court hearing two council members, Joseph Madochick and Clara Preputniclk, and 111 of the signers had a change of heart against the reduction.
One of the key issues raised by Russell was a question she asked the council members. "Normally when a request is made to court to reduce the number of members serving on council or school board is because they have difficulty to filling the seats."
At the hearing there was testimony that was not the problem in McAdoo. One councilman, William Slovik, testified McAdoo had no problem getting candidates but he believed a smaller body would be more interested in serving. There was complaints that some council people do not contribute to the operation of the borough and there is a lot desention among the members.
Russell also ruled, although council members are at times disagreeable it was not proven to the court that the reduction would change the bahavior of the body. Similarly, there was no proof that the law allows a court to consider the decorum of meetings in deciding whether to reduce a council's size when people are interested in serving.