The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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April 20, 2014

OUR VIEW: For the benefit of many, exit by Beader shouldn’t drag out

- — We congratulate Brian Beader for announcing he will resign his post as Mercer County commissioner, although it should have come many months ago.

Now we join the taxpayers of Mercer County in hoping the exit will come sooner, rather than later.

In announcing his plans to resign last week, Beader added, “I haven’t set a hard and fast time frame” and will meet with Mercer County judges Thursday to discuss the resignation.

Beader, from what we witnessed, did a pretty solid job in the first eight years of his 10-year career in the commissioner’s role. But he was absent from the job much of the time this past year or so while working a private sector job.

So he has been criticized by fellow Commissioner Matt McConnell and many others for not doing the job he is being paid well to do. And rightly so.

After all, a commissioner’s salary pays $63,845 and includes another $23,000 in benefits. So simply showing up a couple of times a month for meetings as Beader did didn’t sit well with most people whose taxes fund his job.

While the state laws unfortunately don’t define how much work elected officials must do when they take office, it was clear that Beader was taking advantage of the system. And he was taking advantage of fellow commissioners McConnell and John Lechner, who had to carry the load of running the county pretty much on their own.

Luckily, most people elected in the past have been ethical enough to fulfill the jobs they are elected to do.

Obviously, his fellow commissioners are doing everything they can to speed up Beader’s departure. Beader said one of the reasons he didn’t want to leave too soon was because he wanted to vote on the transfer of property at the Interstate 80/Route 19 interchange to the Upper Neshannock Watershed Authority to conduct a sewer project there.

So on Wednesday, commissioners McConnell and Lechner both formally announced they would vote in favor of the transfer. And McConnell added, “So if Brian was waiting for this, well it’s over. We support it. He can resign then.”

We agree. Beader should step aside as soon as possible to allow the judges to appoint another Democrat to fill the post for the next 18 months. It’s time for the county to return to a trio of full-time commissioners who can be trusted by the taxpayers to do the job we expect them to accomplish.

Democrats interested in filling Beader’s post should send a letter of intent and resume to the Mercer County Democratic Committee, Attn: Charles Rice, P.O. Box 49, Sharon, PA 16146.

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