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Ford City planning commission rebounds from member’s resignation

Ford City’s planning commission is back up to the required number of members a week after the resignation of its newest member at a town hall meeting.

Council voted 3-2 on Monday to appoint Matt Lerner to the commission. Vice President Jerry Miklos and Councilwoman Vicki Schaub opposed the move. Councilman Scott Gaiser was absent.

Contacted after the meeting, Lerner said he is glad to serve Ford City again. He resigned from the commission in the summer for health reasons.

“We have a lot of work to do, and need to develop and implement a community redevelopment plan,” he said. “This will be essential if the town is going to get back on its feet.”

Council also accepted Cody Atherton’s resignation, voting 4-1 in favor, with Gene Banks placing the lone dissenting vote.

Atherton resigned at a Nov. 17 town hall meeting called to address the future of the borough’s police force and budget issues.

The fact that his father, Sgt. John Atherton, is the borough’s officer-in-charge did not influence his decision, he said. Atherton instead cited a “dysfunctional” council as his reason for stepping down.

“My only intentions were to make Ford City a better place,” he said. “I was a volunteer and spent many hours planning future development to help council out.”

Banks attributed the resignation to a lack of council involvement. He said he was the only council member to attend meetings and correspond with members.

Atherton’s resignation narrowed the planning commission to two members. Pennsylvania’s municipal code calls for at least three to serve.

Some on council expressed displeasure with Atherton’s decision Monday. Miklos said he was “extremely disappointed” in him.

Schaub said that she did discuss with Atherton and other planning commission members their efforts.

“I don’t think he gave himself a chance,” she said. “And I don’t think he gave the borough a chance.”

Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315, or [email protected].


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