New Castle News


September 26, 2012

Republicans reach agreement in court

NEW CASTLE — A dispute regarding the reinstatement of seven members to the Lawrence County Republican Committee has been resolved.

Attorneys for the two parties involved in the nearly four-month dispute — the county committee and the seven members — reached agreement yesterday during a hearing in Lawrence County common pleas court.

Under the agreement, the seven who were removed from the committee in the spring have been reinstated as of yesterday with full rights as committee members, including being able to vote at the party’s reorganization meeting.

The meeting has been set for Nov. 15 and will be chaired by William Darr, who is former southwest caucus chairman of the Republican State Committee. Darr, a native of Indiana County, is an attorney.

Ordinarily, the party’s county chairman presides at the reorganization meeting.


The seven — John Altman, David Cochenour, Paul Dici, Gerald Hermann, Theo McCracken, Laura McCracken and William Messner — filed a complaint in June challenging their removal after they had been informed that complaints of wrongdoing had been filed against them by other committee members.

The court issued an injunction preventing the committee from conducting a reorganization meeting until a further order of court is issued. A meeting had been scheduled for June 4.

Senior Judge Eugene Fike issued an order in July reinstating the seven members who were elected in the April 24, 2012, primary election. The order stated that the county committee and William Schafer, its chairman, shall immediately notify the county Board of Elections that the seven have been reinstated.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs subsequently filed a petition for contempt, saying the committee and Schafer had not notified the board of elections.

Attorneys for Schafer and the committee, meanwhile, filed an appeal of Fike’s order with Commonwealth Court. Fike was asked to stay enforcement of his order while the appeal was pending.

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