Recapping the Parkesburg Borough Council Candidate Meet & Greet

Recapping the Parkesburg Borough Council Candidate Meet & Greet

On May 3rd, the Parkesburg Action Committee sponsored a Parkesburg Borough Council Candidate Meet & Greet at the Octorara Jr. High Multipurpose Room. Roughly 25 citizens listened to 5-minute speeches given by each of the candidates in attendance, and then had the opportunity personally ask questions.

Firstly, I would like to encourage people to vote for the Parkesburg Borough Council candidates who actually showed up. Two of the candidates, Joseph W Dynesko Jr and Willard J Marsh did not show up, but were invited. Moreover, I was the only Octorara Area School Director and/or candidate who made an appearance to listen and engage with the Parkesburg Borough Council candidates.

We have a total of 6 Octorara Area School Director candidates, across two Regions, asking for Parkesburg residents to vote for them. Only I showed up interested in what is going on with the Borough Council. What does that say about the other Octorara Area School Director candidates? You decide.

Each of the attending candidates made their speeches. There are only Republicans running for Parkesburg Borough Council, and these names will only appear on the Republican ballot on May 16th, These are my takeaways:

1. Kathleen M. Rick (Incumbent) – Kathy Rick talked about how she moved to Parkesburg in 1978, how she loves and cares about the community, and how active she has been over the years. However, what she did not talk about was her vision, goals, or any real issues facing the Borough. It was the same old “community service” and “giving back” rhetoric that we hear from many local establishment types elected looking to maintain the status quo.

2. Tony Rife (Challenger) – Mr. Rife spoke passionately about the many issues facing the Borough. He recognizes that Parkersburg is not attractive to businesses, there is a growing drug problem, and parts of the Borough are in utter decay. He has a clear vision of linking our business districts and making Parkersburg a more walkable community. Moreover, he would like to see a more engaged and visible Parkersburg Police Department, with better coverage, foot patrols, and community outreach.

3. Scot A Kreger (Challenger) – Parkesburg’s crumbling infrastructure came across as Mr. Kreger’s defining issue. We cannot attract anchor-store businesses into town if it is falling apart. Moreover, Kreger recognizes and understands that both the Borough and Octroara SD property taxes are a big problem. People, especially retirees, are being forced out of their homes.

4. Todd A. Brade (Challenger) – Mr. Brade spoke about needing a Borough Council that has a vision, is passionate, and that has the energy to get things done. He believes Parkesburg has a lot of potential. However, we need officials who are persistent and will follow through. Brade also spoke about the need for greater transparency. Moreover, he wants to work with other municipalities to attract businesses that will increase Octorara’s tax base, and limit the impact of the high school taxes.

5. Mark Agen (Incumbent) – Roughly half of Mr. Agen’s speech seemed to focus on his family and employment background. On the Borough, he talked about the taxes and the need for funds to get things done. Agen is a finance guy who comes across as very knowledgeable about the challenges of funding a budget, but a bit disconnected from the concerns and issues of the typical citizen.

6. Joseph W Dynesko (Incumbent) – No Show

7. Willard J Marsh (Incumbent) – No Show

In addition to the Parkesburg Borough Council candidates, John P Hagan, the sitting Mayor of Parkesburg, is running for re-election on the Democratic ballot unopposed, and there is no candidate on the Republican ballot. Hagan stated this will be his 5th term, and talked about his years in the office. I kinda got the feeling he wished someone would actually run against him.

Overall, the Parkesburg Borough Council Candidate Meet & Greet felt a whole lot like the Octorara Area SD Meet the Candidates Night event. There are the old-guard establishment types on one side, with no new ideas and wanting to keep the status quo. On the other side, there are the new-guard Republicans who want to make real things happen. Republicans will have the opportunity to vote for 4 candidates on their ballots. While this is not an outright endorsement, I plan to vote for Tony Rife, Scot A Kreger, Todd A. Brade, and Mark Agen.


15 thoughts on “Recapping the Parkesburg Borough Council Candidate Meet & Greet

  1. While I am not endorsing candidates I do think there were a few more things mentioned last night. Mrs. Rick did speak at length about her commitment to the borough and the many organizations she has donated her time to since moving here. This is not insignificant. There are many members of our community who value service to the organizations Mrs. Rick is and has been a part of over the years. This type of commitment lets people know she has been here and will be here going forward and that she truly cares about all of us. She also told people to feel free to contact her and reach out with questions and concerns. Those who don’t agree with her leadership over the past 8 years will now have an opportunity to vote that choice, but she did show up last night and to your issue about the school board candidates, that’s more than they did, even your running mate.
    Mr. Agen is more than a competent financial guy. He updated us briefly on the West Bridge St. Bridge project and explained the tax increase that was imposed during his tenure. I think it is important to hear about candidates involvement in the community and their family. It gives a context for their ideas and values and these are important issues when we are entrusting the leadership of our town to their hands.
    I too, was very disappointed that 2 members of council running for re-election did not participate and gave no reason why they did not attend. Since the meeting can be viewed on-line continuously through election day this was perhaps a big lost opportunity for them.
    I agree that Mr. Rife and Mr. Brade put forward a vision and a passion that can energize our little town. Mr. Krege was a bit naïve to imply that the small businesses in our community could be called upon to commit funds to match grants for infrastructure. The amount of money that is often needed for these projects is in the 6 figures and often the higher 6 figures. I believe it is unrealistic to think our businesses can kick in that type of money.
    I believe a good mix of the incumbents and the newbies can be a benefit to us all. Having served on council I know full well the challenges that can impede the progress so many want to see. This was displayed last night when the Mayor explained what happen to the manufacturing plant that council supported. Council did their part and gave enthusiastic support, but the private entity dropped the ball. It’s not fair or accurate in these circumstances to blame the council for the lack of new business coming to town. We had a new housing development that imploded when I was on council as a result of the partners fighting each other even though Borough Council bent over backwards to help them complete their project. In the end we have to stay connected to get complete and accurate information and the fact that many in the audience last night were related to the candidates says something about the involvement of our residents in the process. There is new and young energy emerging in the Borough and this is the most positive sign I have seen in quite a while.

    • You make some valid points Mr. Jones. However, I do have a bit of a different perspective on some things.

      Community service and giving back are noble endeavors. But, whether it is the Borough Council or the School Board, we are talking about government agencies with the power to tax and negatively impact people’s lives. Donating your time to a charity or organization is one thing, but being an elected official is something different. One’s service only has so much value. Our elected officials need vision, goals, and drive.

      Also, I didn’t address it in the post because I really thought it was off-topic. That said, as I understand it, Mayor Hagan’s description of “the private entity [dropping] the ball” is not the complete story. He seemed to place the entire blame on the plant missing the opportunity and failing to get their license, but there is a bit more to what happened. It is a shame we did not get those jobs. It would have been good for Parkesburg.

      That said, many people are tired of local “establishment types” always splitting hairs, making excuses, and not making things better. If today is the best that the incumbents can do, and they have no ideas to make things better, they need to go. It is not about thinking they are bad people. It is just that they are not doing the job.

    • Just curious, were there any candidates for Parkesburg Borough Council at the meet the candidates for school board night? As the only resident of Parkesburg who can vote for the council position who is also a school board candidate, Alexander has every right and should attend or view on the cube. Though the audio was a bit muffled at times, it still is wonderful technology that the district is utilizing. I hope residents of Parkesburg were able to ” view along” as well.

      • Mr, Norris,

        I do love that you are such a big fan of my blog. That said, these types of candidate events are few and far between. Both Region 1 and 3 are supposed to represent the people of Parkesburg, which is also the most densely populated area within the District. More than one person mentioned that they were surprised that more School Board candidates were not there, and I agreed. If you want to flip it and say “what about them,” you can do that. I just don’t see the point.

      • I really was just curious. But upon reflection, these are my thoughts. I imagine like most things they will be contrary to your own. So here goes. First of all, it is quite possible the evening was viewed by a candidate on the cube. We do not know that. You assumed they had no role. In my opinion, regardless of the region a candidate for school board is running for, at best they should be an observer of any election not their own.There are primarys in every borough and township or municpaltity in our district. A candidate for school board , or a seated member should not be interferring with the governance of any such entity. It could be interpreted that suggesting whom to vote for is just that, interferring. Perhaps we should tell who the folks in Londonderry should be voting for as their supervisors. If I were running for council or supervisor,I think I would be offended if there were such participation. As a resident in Parkesburg, you do have a greater interest at what is at stake for your community. I think we all would agree that a desire to build a tax base, increase commercial business in our region would be common desires of anyone running for public office. I am glad that there are more folks running than spots for council seats, that is terriffic! To wrap up, I guess active participation is best limited to ones own election or office, like the endorsment you gave Rocco.

      • Wow Brain, you work really hard making things up to be upset about.

        1. Sure, they could have watched on The Cube. However, School Directors are not the everyday public. Moreover, they missed most of what happened there. Sure, they can personally reach out to the individual candidates if they have questions, but you don’t get to hear what the public was talking about and asking. The fact is, being there live and in person means something to at least some segment of the public. If you want to argue that those citizens are wrong, feel free.

        2. Interfering with the governance of any such entity? Are you serious? How long did it take you to make that one up? Elected officials comment on the policies, actions, voting records, and other activity of other officials within other agencies all the time. Moreover, they endorse candidates for office within other branches and agencies, all the time. This is literally you just making stuff up.

        Your goal seems to be to bicker just to bicker. You aways seem to think my blog is unbecoming of a School Director, but seriously…

      • Brian ,
        In your opinion and I quote –
        “regardless of the region a candidate for school board is running for, at best they should be an observer of any election not their own.There are primarys in every borough and township or municpaltity in our district. A candidate for school board , or a seated member should not be interferring with the governance of any such entity.”

        Did you have that opinion when you helped a write in candidate run against me?

      • Mr. Spoto , please read the last sentence. ” active participation is best limited to ones own election or office” much like Tim has endorsed Rocco, I have helped where i can others to run for office of school board. The position of School Board is a non political one in that we are allowed to cross file. Perhaps this non political designation was designed to prevent some of the very things Tim laid out above. Correctly so, I might add. The active partcipation of candidates and seated politicians in elections and daily votes of policy etc is a hall mark of our democracy and is best left to those offices in my opinion.

      • Despite the image of being nonpolitical, school boards are everything but. One very public example is when many school boards, earlier this year, voted on resolutions against the nomination of Betsy DeVos by President Trump to be the Secretary of Education. Another is the resolutions against the Property Tax Elimination Act. While Octorara stayed away from these topics, it is not like political leanings are not a factor. We have lobbyists and special interests groups, just like Harrisburg and Washington. We have Board members that can be distributed as pro-union and others not, who favor school choice and others not… and not that long ago, we even had a Board member ask that we investigate a Transgender Policy before the Obama Administration sent out their “guidance” and threatened to cut funds. It is all politics.

      • Brian you are silly little rascal, and you have yet to do anything to reduce the budget with our declining school enrollment. I did however watch you push to spend, spend, spend and not realize that you are pushing families out of the district because the tax burden is getting out of control. Maybe you should do stand up comedy for a living because your career as a politician is dwindling down into an endless pit of horror in my opinion.

  2. What an unprofessional and biased review of what one person saw as the result of a meet and greet.

    • Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion, Mr. Stackhouse. I should take this opportunity to remind people, this website is not journalism. There is no attempt at being impartial. I provide information and commentary. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinions.

      • I don’t think it is biased. I watched the video, and Kathy Rick wasn’t even paying attention for half of the event. Joe Dynesko is rude and never showed up, John Hagan won’t investigate his own police officer’s. Kathy Rick? Is she serious about getting re-elected? What is she going to do for the borough besides make it look worse, although it probably can’t get any worse than what it is now. Ray what’s your background looking like? What is the story behind Chuck Persch’s sons house that caught fire twice up on 4th and burned down other residents homes? The house was under renovation with no permit’s?

  3. I can’t hear the meeting above a whisper. I did want to watch and hear all they had to say. I’m sorry I couldn’t make the meeting. It doesn’t sound as though I missed much from these comments.

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