The recent deadlock vote to determine who will be president of the Crawford County Fair Board brought back memories from the 1980s.

The board was deadlocked 4-4 between Commissioner Francis Weiderspahn or board member George Deshner.

The issue that year was the same as this year: Should a county commissioner be allowed to be president of the fair board? The argument was the same as this year. Some people believe the commissioner would have a "conflict of interest" because both positions vote on the same issue.

When it all ended in the 1980s, the vote was yes and the late Ivan Rose was elected fair board president and served many years.

At the same time, the commissioners chose to name different people to the board than what the fair board had nominated.

It was an interesting situation to watch.

Will history repeat itself this year? The board in the 1980s also — for the first time anybody could remember — rejected the nominations and appointed others to the board.

Will this year's commissioners do the same?

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There are a number of other questions facing elected officials in the near future.

Meadville City Council must name a deputy mayor to succeed Nancy Mangillo-Bittner, who lost her bid for re-election. Council now has a 4-1 Democratic majority.

"It's going to be a battle," said one local official recently.

Will it be Democrat Sean Donahue or Republican Jim Roha? Most aren't betting on the two newcomers Larry McKnight or Autumn Vogel simply because they don't have the City Council experience yet.

Voters elect a mayor for a four-year term, but council then elects the deputy mayor, who does the duties of the mayor when he or she is out of town.

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The other question is who will be elected chairman of the county commissioner board? Tradition has that the highest vote getter is the chairman, but that changed the last election when Weiderspahn was named chairman even though John Amato had the most votes.

Will that happen again or will Eric Henry be chairman since he had the most votes?

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At the same time, some deputies (or chief deputy) have already been named or remain the same.

Mario Urey was named deputy register and recorder by incoming Register and Recorder Beth ForbesJeff Leguard will remain chief deputy in the sheriff's office, and Angela Crawford will remain deputy prothonotary.

I have heard of no other changes in personnel at the courthouse or city hall.

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The swearing-in ceremony at the county judicial center brought many familiar faces to show support for the officials being sworn in. Some of those who attended included retired coroner Patrick McHenry, former district attorney John Dawson as well as retired district magisterial judge William Chisholm.

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The other question of the week is whether the county will have a third judge now that judge Anthony Vardaro has officially retired.

As you may remember, the governor appoints a successor with the consent of the state Senate.

Both parties will submit names for consideration. If no appointment is made, the county will more than likely be served by a senior judge.

• • •

Both the Democratic and Republican parties will not only choose nominees for election in the April primary, they also will elect delegates to the respective national conventions.

The date to begin circulating petitions is Jan. 28 since the primary is one month earlier than usual.

As a judge of elections, I would recommend all people who may be uncertain whether they are registered to vote to check a month before the election to make certain.

Jane Smith is a retired Meadville Tribune reporter who specialized in covering government and politics.

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