Tharan steps down as commissioner board chair

Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan stepped down as the chairman of the board of commissioners at the commissioners’ regular meeting Nov. 13.

“After the recent election it became very obvious to me the majority of the people wanted a change,” said Tharan. He was referring to the fact that Commissioner Wayne Brosius received about 1,000 more votes than he did in the recent election.

Commissioner Wayne Brosius, the current vice-chair on the board will assume the leadership position.

It has been tradition in Clarion County that the person who receives the most votes for commissioner will be the chairman of the board.

“I had a good time when I was doing this,” said Tharan. “I am very proud of our accomplishments. A lot has been accomplished in the last eight years. The chairman’s job is to come up with ideas. You have to figure the cost and present them to the other board members. Apparently a lot of people didn’t like what happened in the last eight years. I am willing to make that change.”

The board will re-organize on January 2 when Democrat commissioner-elect Braxton White joins the board. Tharan said he will not seek the leadership position.

Laura O’Neil of the county’s elections office reported on the recent general election. She said that 38 percent of the county’s voters voted. The county mailed out 1,766 mail-in and absentee ballots and 86 percent of them were returned.

We started to review the write-in votes Wednesday after the election that process is on-going and we hope to have it completed this week or next week,” said O’Neil. The final compilation will be posted on the county’s web page.

She said the scanner takes a picture of every ballot and that picture is displayed on a screen and two people review them. “We look at the hand writing and try to determine who they voted for,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil said some of minor municipal seats will be determined by the write-ins. “No county level offices will be affected,” she said.

She said the Election Board reviewed the provisional ballots and military ballots and performed a two percent audit, which turned out perfectly. She said there are a “host” of reasons a provisional ballot can be rejected including an incorrect address.

O’Neil said once the state certifies the election the winners will be notified by mail.

Interim Election Director Cindy Callihan said that in the event of a tie there will be a drawing of lots to break the tie.

A swearing in ceremony will take place in January.

The Board of Commissioners requested a State Local Share Account Statewide Program grant for up to $1,000,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to be used for improvements to and expansion of the Clarion County Jail. The money will be used to add intake cells at the jail and a full body scanner. It is a non-matching grant.

The Clarion County Tax Claim Bureau will be holding a Judicial Sale on Dec. 5, 2023, at 10 a.m. in courtroom 1 of the Clarion County Courthouse. This is a free and clear sale and will expose 21 properties and parcels. Last day for bidders to register is on Nov. 27, 2023; by 4:30 p.m. Bidders must register in person at the Tax Claim Bureau. For more information, call (814) 226-4000, Ext. 2306.