Commissioner criticized for absences

MERCER COUNTY, Pa. (WKBN) — A Mercer County commissioner is facing a lot of criticism after being called out on attendance issues that started last May.

Commissioner Brian Beader admitted during a commissioner’s meeting on Thursday that he has not been as active in Mercer County as he has been in the past. Other commissioners said Beader’s absence has created extra work hours for them because they have to pick up his slack.

The controversy was brought up last week after Mercer County Commissioner Matt McConnell spoke out against Beader being absent from many activities.

The three-term Democrat blames working a construction job on top of his $63,000 annual salary as a commissioner.

“I have openly acknowledged that I have not been here to participate as much as I would like to or should do,” Beader said.

McConnell said after nine months of absences from his colleague, he has had enough.

“It is frustrating not having somebody that is getting paid as a commissioner on duty to do day-to-day meetings,” McConnell said.

Commission Chairman John Lechner said the tension isn’t keeping them from getting the county’s work done.

“All three of us have an obligation to work together. We don’t have an obligation to necessarily like each other,” Lechner said.

Beader said he is unsure if he will step down from the post he had held for the past decade. His current term ends at the end of 2015.

“In Pennsylvania, there are only three ways to remove an elected official from office. The governor, two-thirds vote from the state senate or an infamous crime,” Beader said.

He said he is still very involved as a commissioner, despite all the absences.

“I’m prepared for anything that comes in front of our desk. I’m prepared to make decisions in regards to where we’re going with commissioner actions,” Beader said.

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