Phoenixville council fills Middle Ward seat (video)

Karl Bucus

PHOENIXVILLE - It took two meetings, but borough council added a new face to the empty Middle Ward seat Monday night.

Karl Bucus beat out three other candidates to take over the seat vacated in June by former Councilman Kyle Guie.

'The bottom line is I can do the job,' Bucus said.

Bucus said he is a 'proud Republican' who will be taking over a seat held previously by a Democrat, Guie.

'When I'm done, if people can say I couldn't tell what party he was,' then Bucus will be content, he said.

Bucus is a member of the Phoenixville Republican Committee and previously tried to help former council member and appointee Marc Reber get elected to council unsuccessfully.

Council voted 4-3 in favor of Bucus. Richard Kirkner, Dana Dugan, Christopher Bauers and David Gautreau all voted for Bucus while Jenifer Mayo, Mike Speck and James Kovaleski did not support his nomination.

Bucus was the only candidate voted on and won the appointment over Richard Breuer, a former council member from 1992 to 2000, Jan Swarr, a board member of the Forge Theatre and this year's grand marshal of the Dogwood Parade, and Renee Halloran, a substitute language teacher in the Phoenixville Area School District.

Mayo, the other Middle Ward representative, said she had no comment after the meeting on Bucus' appointment.

'I was favoring another,' Speck said. '(But) Karl does seem like someone I'll be able to work with on council.'

Gautreau said he has known Bucus for 'a while' and felt he was the best candidate available.

'The sad part was all four (candidates) interviewed really well,' he said. 'It could have been a yes for any.'

When Gautreau was first running for council, Bucus actually helped him on his campaign, Gautreau said.

During the interview process, Bucus said he will not run in the general election three years from now for the seat he was appointed to.

'It's important that people in these seats get elected (by the public),' Bucus said. 'It's important for accountability, I think.'

In light of that, Bucus said he was just stepping up to fill a hole on council.

Bucus will more than likely serve as Phoenixville's representative to the Regional Planning Committee, an entity that Kirkner has called 'township-heavy' previously.

'They can be a handful,' Bucus said.

Although he said he has some opinions on what that committee should do, Bucus emphasized he was ready to learn and represent the issues of the borough.

When asked about the borough's budget and what issues were important to him, Bucus brought up something involving the area's schools.

'One area I would like, maybe talk to the school board about adding a safety officer,' something they've had before, he said.

When asked about the transparency of the council in relation to the process of approving the new borough hall, Bucus suggested a greater use of social media through council could improve the public's awareness.

After the meeting, when asked about the basic services he feels are most important to the borough, Bucus did not hesitate in giving his answer.

'Water, trash, sewer and snow removal,' he said, before adding, 'and maybe taking out a tree or two.'

Bucus, originally from Malvern, has lived in Phoenixville for about 12 years now, he said, and works as a manager of content and client services with QuantiaMD, an online community for medical professionals.

Council attempted to appoint someone at the regularly-scheduled monthly meeting July 9, but arguments broke out over the two candidates that were voted on, Anthony DiGirolomo and Michael Handwerk, and neither were appointed.

Follow Frank Otto on Twitter @fottojourno. Follow his Phoenixville coverage with the #pxville hash tag.

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