Home Rule Study Commission

The Home Rule Study Commissioners will play an essential role in the home rule process. The purpose of the nine-member Home Rule Study Commission is to:

  • Study our current form of government.
  • Determine what is working and what is not working.
  • Decide if changes are recommended.
  • If yes, the Commission will communicate with the public about the proposed changes.

May 16, 2023 Election

During the May 16 Lancaster City voters will:

1. Answer yes or no to the following question:
“Shall a government study commission of nine members be elected to study the existing form of government of the municipality to consider the advisability of the adoption of a home rule charter and, if advisable, to draft and recommend a home rule charter?”

2. Choose nine candidates to serve as Home Rule Study Commissioners

Independents CAN vote on this ballot measure on May 16.

Learn more about Home Rule

Meet the Home Rule Study Commission Candidates

Brian Adams

Home rule is more than just taxes. As a third class city, Lancaster must follow the requirements laid out by the Pennsylvania legislature. These regulations describe everything from how the city elects a city council to how they may or may not raise taxes to fund the city and its services. What this means is that decisions on how residents of the city are to be governed is determined by voters in Bradford, or Pittsburgh, or Allentown. This is not the democratic process in which the governed choose how how they will be led. Home Rule provides us that means of separating from the state and allowing the city and its residents to make its own decisions.

Peter Barber

I have lived in Lancaster City my entire life. My kids and grandchildren all live here. My business is located and operates within the city. My commitment to this place runs deep. Through the work of my business along with my work within the non-profit space, having served on the boards of Lancaster Chamber, Lancaster City Alliance, SoWe and ASSETS, I understand many of the challenges this community faces as well as have experienced the impact and opportunities that working with a focused group of committed individuals can make to bring about positive change. I can utilize these experiences to inform and shape my views and balance the pragmatic realism of business ownership and operation with the ideals and aspirations of other community service.

Darlene Byrd

I lived on South Ann Street for over 45 years. I lived in the city for over 50 years. I am very active in the community, a leader and advocate. I want to serve on the Home Rule Commission because I believe something has to be done. I am both a homeowner and a landlord I see and know how it effects both. I am not sure this is the best thing for us but I truly believe we need to look at and explore all options available to us. Lancaster is a great place. I will represent all people on this commission.

Maxine Cook

I am seeking your vote for the Home Rule Study Commission.  I was born in Lancaster and raised in each of the four quadrants of the city.  I serve on the mission committee and board at Lancaster’s YWCA, and a member of the City Planning Commission.  My unpretentious interest in what a better Lancaster can be, and what the community wants will drive my work with fellow commissioners, and consultants of legal, social, and political expertise to guide the commission.  I will commit to discovering all there is to know about Home Rule and to know if it is a viable, equitable option for all Lancaster City residents.This process deserves purposeful probing, which I stand ready to pursue.Thank you Lancaster.

Ted Darcus

I’m interested in serving on the HRS commission & would be an asset. I have been a Lancaster City resident for 45 years & have been a very strong Community advocate. I served on the city council for 10 years, 5 which I was president. I understand the issues the city faces & have been part of solutions. I have worked with Mayor Morris, Stork and Smithgall & played an integral part in bringing the Lancaster County Convention Center. I am well respected and connected on the city county state level and would bring many perspectives. I will also bring diversity on many levels and help bring checks and balances. My temperament critical thinking & organization skills are well suited for this work.

Tony Dastra

I’m running for the Home Rule Commission because I believe in the power of the people and the Third Class City code, written by the state, is too restrictive. By us writing and voting for a new charter we can increase our power as a community to tackle complex issues such as representation and housing.

Estoy corriendo para la oficina de Home Rule Commission porque creo en la poder de la gente y el código de las ciudades terceras, escribió por el estado, tiene límites no necesarios. Si escribimos y votamos por una carta nueva, podemos crecer nos poderes en la comunidad y golpe los problemas muy graves con mañeras nuevas, por ejemplo representación y habitación.

Elizabeth Elias

I’m running for Home Rule Commission because I believe my experience in the community can be an asset in conducting the study. I have been a Social Worker in the community since 1997, am an active member of my church and Red Cross Volunteer.

Wes Farmer

I care deeply about Lancaster. This process is an exciting opportunity for us to examine, consider, and imagine a city government that is more efficient, effective and fair. I believe in a democracy where all voices are heard, honored, and incorporated into community decisions. A fresh examination of the city’s governance structure may result in improved progress and success. If given the honor of your vote, I look forward to the opportunity to serve.

Carl Feldman

I am running for Home Rule Commission to prioritize abundance over austerity for our city. The commonwealth’s laws place third-class cities like Lancaster at a structural disadvantage despite being Pennsylvania’s hubs of commerce and culture. A better system of funding city services is possible.

Since being announced I have supported Home Rule as a worthwhile effort to establish more progressive taxation for Lancaster. As a policy specialist with the Commonwealth, I have a keen understanding state law. I hope to use that experience to help establish a new city charter which puts Lancaster on a solid footing for the future and engenders confidence in our government. I am listed first on the ballot and I would be honored to have your vote.

Jacob Glensor

I moved to Lancaster in 2017 and quickly fell in love with this city; from the people and community to the incredible food, Lancaster continues to impress me. Now we, as a community, have choices to make on how we continue our success – together – for the generations to come.

As a commercial lender, I assist businesses growth and provide stable employment in our community. Additionally, I serve on the board of Hands-on House and am involved in other community initiatives in Lancaster City. It would be a privilege to represent you and help continue the work so many are already doing in various ways to strengthen our city.

Dena Maounis

I grew up working in the city at my father’s restaurant and now have lived in the city for almost 7 years. I am running to make sure our lifelong, current, and future residents thrive in this city so they do not have to worry how they will survive. Our residents are the reason for our tight knit neighborhoods. I am also running to make sure there are checks and balances throughout the process so that there is actual debate when spending other people’s money. As residents, if we need to live within our means in our household, so should our government. I plan to use honesty, critical and logical thinking, and common sense throughout the process.

Andrew Marshall

John McGrann

I’ve lived in Lancaster since 2005, raised a family here with my wife Mara, and own a vibrant small business in the Stadium District with 25 employees, many of whom live in the city. Serving as a Government Study Commissioner presents an opportunity to shape the future of Lancaster, to choose the ideal form of government and the most appropriate sources of tax revenue that best match the resources of our residents and the need for government services.

I’ve had the opportunity to serve on community boards as well as on City boards and commissions. I like searching for collaborative solutions, and I especially enjoy working on organizational structure and governance. I believe my experience will be very valuable to the Home Rule Study.

Marshall Miller

I’m running to make sure working people and folks on fixed incomes can afford a home in Lancaster City, and because I believe we should be able to make more decisions at the local level.

As a 27-year-old renter, I want to bring my generational perspective to this commission and focus the study on how we can provide property tax relief for residents while enhancing local governance.

I’m committed to working for this community. I currently lead the Lancaster City Democratic Party in organizing across the city to help elect leaders who fight for working people.

I have an undergraduate degree in public policy from Bridgewater College and professional communications experience that have prepared me to do this work and communicate outward to the community.

Ezra Rothman

I’m excited to work with other residents to contribute to the City’s long-term health. I want to understand if home rule is a more equitable solution for City residents. Previously, I led the United Way’s VITA Free Tax Preparation program, which introduced me to many different people in Lancaster. As Director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships at the Economic Development Company, my job is to identify solutions to challenges and opportunities focused on economic health. I’m an active listener, bring strong project management skills and have a track record of breaking down complex concepts. I have no political ambition. My interest in the commission is driven by curiosity and a desire to support my city.

Michael Rowen

My wife Molly and I live in Lancaster and care deeply about keeping Lancaster vibrant. I own a small specialty car dealership, Michaels Motor Cars on North Queen Street. I have been in business for 45 years. I had served for two terms on the SDoL school board and have a good working knowledge of that organization and its impact on taxes. I currently serve on the Fulton Theatre Board and have also been a long term member of the Hourglass board. I do not have an opinion of Home Rule at this time and am curious to learn more to educate myself. I believe strongly in Lancaster as a very diverse and open community and want it to become financially stable.

Amy Ruffo

Eight years ago, I volunteered with Fair Districts PA to end gerrymandering–it benefits parties, not people. I learned how government works and place value on the public having an understanding of policies that affect us. This has prepared me to be a Study Commissioner.

I learned about the fiscal concerns of cities like Lancaster in 2019 when Senator Martin hosted a workshop. Fiscal fairness is the goal of Home Rule, but is it right for Lancaster? I seek to understand its impact on our entire community.

My goal: voters get an explanation of the pros and cons so they can make an informed decision.

My objective: listen to community members, fellow commissioners, and experts; promote a process that is transparent and accountable to the community.

Candidates are listed alphabetically by last name.

Candidates submitted their information, remaining candidates can email Wyatt Behringer at wybehringer@cityoflancasterpa.gov to have their information added.