Linda J. Book passed the gavel to new Council President William J. Veith on Tuesday night during the borough's reorganizing session, where three re-elected officials were sworn in and new committee appointments were finalized.
in November were .
Lahr and Berkoben have both sat on the Whitehall Council for 12 years. McKown has served since 1993 with the exception of two years.
In addition to the swearing-in of those re-elected officials by Magisterial District Judge David J. Barton, a new council president and vice president were chosen.
Instead of voting on the positions, Whitehall officials fill the slots on an annual, rotating basis, with the current president being replaced by the current vice president.
Whitehall, officials said, is one of only a few municipal governments to operate in such a manner.
Book, who officially resigned as President at the meeting, said that the rotation allows for fresh perspectives and different strengths to come forward.
The chairs of each of the council's committees also change each year.
“If you just stayed in the same capacity all the time, you get stale,” Book said. “Each of us has the opportunity to work with these members. Everybody has the opportunity to work with other committees. That's why it works great.”
Veith, as the most recent vice president, moved into the slot of council President on Tuesday. Glenn Nagy, a Whitehall councilman since 1996, became Vice President.
Relatively new to the council, Veith begins his third year of overall service and his first as President.
“I look forward to the opportunity,” he said. “I think that, obviously, we have a very, very competent council here.”
A retired teacher, Veith has lived in Whitehall since 1990.
Appointments of council members to head up the borough's six committees in 2012 went as follows:
- Administrative Services, Kathleen N. DePuy;
- Library, Lahr;
- Planning/Zoning, Book;
- Public Safety, McKown;
- Public Works, Nagy; and
- Recreation, Berkoben.
New Fire Station Reported as Under Budget and Ahead of Schedule
Architect Mark Edelmann reported that construction of is under budget and ahead of schedule.
“That's two of the biggest pluses you can have,” Veith said, describing the building as state-of-the-art.
The project, he said, is $200,000 under budget and is expected to be completed in two to two-and-a-half months.
Project payments are 69-percent complete, and inside construction continues, Edelmann reported.
Fire Station Sign
Officials are reviewing the specifications of a proposed electronic LED sign for the new Whitehall fire station.
They want to ensure that it complies with the borough's own sign ordinance.
The sign will warn motorists if and when the is responding to an emergency and may also include mentions of community events.