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Municipal leadership lacking: 'Town fathers' indeed

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Friday, June 14, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

It's an archaic title, especially given the number of women holding public office today. Yet those elected to municipal councils and boards sometimes are referred to as “town fathers.”

They are expected to be leaders, setting an example of decorum and working in the public's interest — just as fathers do for their families.

Alas, this Father's Day weekend, too few “town fathers” deserve that distinction:

• Ford City Council on Monday spent an inordinate amount of time bickering about what was included in the minutes of a previous meeting. Personalities clashed. Citizens' concerns — among them, sidewalks in disrepair, flooding streets and speeding truck traffic — aired late in the meeting and without resolve. Everyone appeared too tired after the earlier arguing.

• Kittanning Council has a minor controversy over whether a drug-sniffing dog is needed in the borough. Donated funds are to be used to buy the dog. What's needed is a calm, informative discussion. So far that hasn't happened.

• Some West Kittanning citizens are concerned about the cost of a planned new municipal building. Why not schedule a special session to air public concerns and council's arguments in favor of construction? The issue deserves the time.

Of course, there's room for disagreements and debates at these sessions. But public meetings should be administered so that discussions are (at least to some degree) productive and ultimately lead somewhere. In too many cases, that's not happening.

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