Whoever emerges victorious in Tuesday general election for four seats on Wyomissing Borough Council, one thing is certain: there will be at least three new members.
Republican incumbent Councilman William S. Jenckes is the only incumbent in the field that pits four Democrats against four Republicans for the four open seats on the seven-member council.
We asked the candidates to respond to two questions:
Question 1: Why do you believe you are the right person for this position?
Question 2. What are the most important issues facing the borough right now, and how do you plan to address them?
Katie Maher, 56
Background: She has more than 30 years in account management and business development and a bachelors degree in community health science. She has volunteer experience with animal rescue, housing instability, food insecurity and abused/neglected children in court systems.
Response 1: Through decades of working in professionally demanding environments, I’ve learned a lot about leadership, team building, accountability and cooperative decision making. No council member acts alone. My experience and ability to build consensus will be valuable in moving Wyomissing forward.
Response 2: The primary reason I chose to run is because of the lack of transparency in our local government. Shining a light on what Borough
Katie MaherCouncil does, the decisions being made for us and where our dollars are being spent is a top priority. Citizen participation is crucial for a strong community. To that end, I will make sure our website is up to date and easy to navigate. Our budgets and budget proposals will be easily accessible. Meetings should be live-streamed and recorded then meeting minutes will be posted. Borough Council will be proactively reaching out which means the use of social media, newsletters, in-person gatherings and events. I will make our council accessible and accountable to the community.
Jana Barnett, 69
Background: My husband, son and I moved to Wyomissing in 1994, when my husband was transferred back to Glen-Gery’s corporate headquarters in Wyomissing. Our son was a Spartan from his first day of kindergarten until he graduated from high school. I served on the Wyomissing Area school board for eight years. In addition to being a wife, mother and volunteer, I am an attorney. Before moving, I was the vice president and associate general counsel of Maryland Casualty Company. Since moving, I have been a sole practitioner. I have an office on Park Road North in Berkshire Heights, and another in my home. Most of my clients are going through a divorce, struggling with custody of their children, experiencing problems at work, planning for their deaths, or administering estates.
Response 1: Borough Council needs people with different perspectives who are willing to exchange information and ideas, and – through discussions – reach decisions which are best for the residents. I value decisions driven by priorities, common sense and data. I listen more than I speak. The League of Women Voters forum made the choices clear. Voters should draw their own conclusions by watching the forum.
Response 2: Wyomissing needs a comprehensive plan which addresses the dangers posed by aging, tall trees, and opportunities to prune them and replace them with trees which preserve our neighborhood atmosphere but pose less danger. Borough Council needs to commission the plan and provide more funding for the trees department to implement the plan. the terms of collective bargaining agreements being negotiated, and to be negotiated, must be consistent with the value which we place on borough staff. Borough Council has delayed funding infrastructure in Borough buildings, parks and streets. The budget must address these priorities.
Frederick Mogel, 66
Background: After graduating from Wyomissing Area High School in 1973, he graduated from Syracuse University in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in economic and earned his law degree from Delaware Law School in 1980. Mogel has been a practicing attorney in Berks County for 41 years. He has been president of the offices of Mogel, Speidel, Bobb and Kershner for 20 years.
Response 1: My background as a practicing attorney and running a law office provides me with a unique skill set a unique skill set which will add value to Borough Council in its role of serving the community. During my tenure as a attorney, I have practiced in the areas of municipal, planning, and zoning law, having represented both municipalities and zoning boards as well as applicants and developers that appear before them. I can add value in these and many other areas of law that Borough Council has to deal with.
Response 2: The most important issue is to continue and build upon the fine accomplishments of the existing and prior councils who have made Wyomissing Borough one of the finest places to live in the Commonwealth. This is due in part to excellent financial management, lack of any debt, fully funded pensions, beautiful park system, and keeping a eye toward robust economic development with a diverse land use which benefits all the residents with a high quality of life and lower taxes.
Shane Paisley, 41
Background: He is a Tulpehocken High School and Penn State University graduate who has undertaken graduate studies at Cornell University. Paisley boasts more than 20 years of experience in domestic and International business success. He is an entrepreneur of multiple businesses, is a local commercial and residential real estate investor, outreach/development leader and a former financial advisor with cross-cultural communication expertise.
Response 1: With an over 20 year background as an entrepreneur, real estate investor, philanthropist, and volunteer, I am uniquely prepared to
lead Wyomissing as a council member.
In my professional life as a chief marketing strategist, I am counted on by clients ranging from; Fortune Global 500 companies, Forbes Top 50 U.S. Charities, and local start-ups to assemble and manage multidisciplinary teams that develop and implement strategic marketing initiatives that adapt to shifting markets and complex business environments. As a real estate investor, my experience has involved purchasing, managing, renting, and developing residential and commercial real property. During my tenure as a financial advisor, I provided expertise and professional guidance on money matters to grow and preserve investments. I also give back as a volunteer to various community outreach organizations, non-profits, and youth sports leagues.
Response 2: Balancing economic development with the needs of our residents will be critical in developing a sustainable plan for long-term community advancement that also preserves our local culture – it’s about people, not just profits. Through “mindful” development, we can leverage our unique commercial benefits while attracting and retaining both residents and businesses. Through inclusive community engagement, an enhanced collaboration between borough hall and our community, our residents gain greater control and a louder voice. Experience matters, passion for doing the right thing is not enough; you also need the skills, experience, and know-how to get the job done. With pandemic and socioeconomic-related issues accelerating critical decision-making and further complicating the services provided by local government, our residents, families, and businesses deserve leadership from council members with real-world experience to navigate the dynamic issues and opportunities in front of
No response from the candidate.
Jacqueline Torres, 34
Background: I have been a resident of Wyomissing for over 30 years. I attended the Wyomissing School District from kindergarten through graduation as well as raising my family and including them as Wyomissing students. I have experience working for, as well as owning businesses in our community focusing on confidence building in our youth. I have additional experience in advocacy for women’s rights and special needs, diversity and inclusion.
Response 1: I believe I am the…
Read More: 8 candidates compete for 4 open seats on Wyomissing Borough Council