An historic moment for Oxford Borough
By Steven Hoffman
It’s a new era for Oxford Borough.
Lorraine Bell officially became the first woman mayor in the borough’s history with the start of the new year.
Then another historic moment came on Monday, Jan. 2 when Oxford Borough Council selected Sue Lombardi as the council president—the first time that a woman has ever held that position in the borough. Lombardi is in her 11th year as a borough council member. Peggy Ann Russell was borough council’s choice to serve as the vice president for 2018. The votes on the leadership positions were both unanimous.
It's an historic moment for Oxford Borough, having women occupy the offices of mayor, council president, and council vice president simultaneously. Some wondered whether this might be a first in Chester County.
Borough resident Etha McDowell, who was in attendance at the meeting, expressed her pride in seeing the leadership positions all held by women.
“I am thrilled at this historic first—it happened here in my little town of Oxford, and I love that,” McDowell said during the public comment period.
The Jan. 2 reorganization meeting began with Bell administering the oath of office to the four people who won seats on council in the November election—Robert Ketcham, Phillip Hurtt, Amanda Birdwell, and Ron Hershey. They join Lombardi, Russell, and John Thompson on borough council.
In other business at the reorganization meeting, Lombardi appointed Birdwell to serve as the president pro tempore. She will run the meetings when both the president and vice president are unavailable.
Lombardi also handed out new committee assignments for council members. Each member serves on three committees. In addition to his committee assignments, Ketcham agreed to serve as one of the borough’s representatives on the Oxford Area Sewer Authority Board.
Borough Council also approved the appointment of Andrew Atkinson to serve as the Vacancy Board Chairperson. The Vacancy Board convenes if borough council is deadlocked on a vote to fill a vacancy and is unable to make an appointment. Atkinson would join the members of council and fill the vacancy.
Borough council also authorized an application for a Pennsylvania Small Water & Sewer Program grant. The borough is seeking a $500,000 grant that would be used to make upgrades to water mains.