MILTON — The president of Milton Borough Council has resigned from his seat and will fill the remainder of the term of Mayor Ed Nelson, who passed away May 29.
Council on Wednesday appointed Mark Shearer to fill the remainder of Nelson’s term, which runs through the end of the year. It was noted that Shearer will serve as mayor until a reorganizational meeting, which will be scheduled for the first week of January. Democrat Tom Aber and Republican Joe Moralez are on the ballot as mayoral candidates in the November election.
The meeting opened with council Vice President Jamie Walker presiding. He announced that earlier in the day he learned that by borough code when the municipality is without a mayor the council president becomes interim mayor. With the president serving in that capacity, the vice president must preside over the meetings.
Following the meeting, Shearer elaborated and noted that just because the president becomes interim mayor, council is not obligated to appoint the person in that position as mayor. Per borough code, Shearer said council has 30 days to fill the mayoral position if it comes open.
If council fails to fill the position within that timeframe, he said a vacancy board — consisting largely of council members — has an additional 15 days to fill the position.
Shearer is not seeking re-election for his term as a Ward 4 council representative, which expires at the end of the year. He was nominated to fill the remainder of Nelson’s term by Moralez, a Ward 1 council representative.
Walker, Moralez and council members Dale Pfeil, Jeff Robol, John Pfeil and Cindy Fawess all voted for Shearer to become mayor.
Council members Charles Swartz and Linda Meckley cast no votes for Shearer, while member Richard Specht was absent from the meeting.
Prior to Shearer being nominated, Swartz questioned why the entire council was not notified that the borough code states the council president must become the interim mayor until a new mayor is appointed.
After Moralez nominated Shearer for the position, Swartz nominated retired Borough Manager Chuck Beck — who was not in attendance — to fill the remainder of Nelson’s term. Meckley offered a second to Swartz’ nomination of Beck.
After being appointed to fill Nelson’s term, Shearer resigned from his seat on council and was sworn in as mayor. Following the meeting, he said council can select someone to fill the Ward 4 seat on council, but there is no timeframe in which that must happen.
Walker was appointed as the new council president, with Dale Pfeil being appointed vice president.
Following the meeting, Shearer, who is 39 years old, noted that he’s a lifelong Milton resident. He and his wife, Kelly, have three children, Lucas, 12, Jacob, 9, and Madison, 5.
A seventh-grade history teacher in the Line Mountain School District, Shearer has served on council for 11 years.
He said he was not lobbying to become Milton’s new mayor, through the end of the year.
“Over the last 12 to 24 hours, I came to the realization that my fellow council members had a desire to see me serve in that capacity,” Shearer said. “I was humbled.”
He lauded Nelson for his years of service to the community.
Nelson had been serving on council for five years, prior to first being appointed mayor in 1995 following the passing of then Mayor “Bus” Longenberger.
“I had the distinct honor of serving beside (Nelson),” Shearer said. “He was a person I looked up to.”
While he was not planning to become mayor, Shearer pledged to give his best to the position.
“For the next six months, I hope to make Milton proud as a meaningful successor to (Nelson),” he said.
A moment of silence was held during the meeting in memory of Nelson and Milton Fire Department volunteer Nick Ney. It was noted that Ney, 25, passed away unexpectedly this week as the result of a medical emergency he experienced while traveling home from Missouri.
In business actions, council granted a conditional use request for Patton Warehousing to develop a new warehouse on property it owns in the area of its Watsontown Trucking Company. The conditional use was necessary as the area is not zoned for warehousing.