Lots of notable stories in the paper today -- links to looks at parking rate hikes on business and the Altmire-Rothfus debate are above -- but make sure you see Dennis Roddy's latest in the Dispatches series, from Ashley, Pa:
Ashley's woebegone status mirrors many of the problems facing local governments in a state with 2,562 municipalities. Fully 1,509 locally governed towns have populations smaller than Ashley's. Municipal posts are hard to fill. Elected leaders are hard to keep. And keeping budgets from turning to dust gets harder and harder.
"It's hard to get someone involved," says council President Stacy McGovern. "Who would want to get involved these days, you know?"
Ms. McGovern's father was mayor 25 years ago. She moved into the council presidency a year after her first election, partly because members of council -- five in all -- abruptly resigned.
"We had five different people appointed this last year, so every month I was working with someone new," she said. When budget time arrived, there was a new secretary as well. The process has been difficult.
"People imagine that when they elect an official, they are the one running the town. That is not the case. It's almost always a manager or secretary," said Kathleen Krofchok. She's the former borough secretary who was first hired in 1985, resigned abruptly earlier this year when her hours were cut back, and is at the center of the current imbroglio over the budget.