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County government needs to try harder to balance boards

Balance.

It’s an important part of life.

Visit your doctor’s office and you may be asked to stand on one leg, to demonstrate your ability to balance.

You may be asked if your diet is balanced, if you are getting all of the nutrients needed to sustain your physical health.

You may be asked if the different parts of your life are balanced — work, children, socialization, activities and interests.

When we see that something is not balanced, we tend to want to correct it.

Earlier this year, the county commissioners bypassed the appointment of the lone applicant — Linda Sosniak, a woman — to fill a vacant seat on the county planning commission in favor of a man who had not even applied for the post.

This sparked a study by the Williamsport chapter of the National Organization for Women, which found that only 17 percent of women serve on Lycoming County boards, authorities and commissions.

It should be noted that 51 percent of the county’s population is female, according to the Census.

Sally Lifland Butterfield, the local NOW secretary, argues that the situation stems from “a good old boys network” in local government that helps to create the imbalance.

Look, elected officials have every right to choose people they believe best fit the job — paid and volunteer.

But there must be an awareness on the part of those doing the appointing to these volunteer positions that they need to have balance as a way to best represent their constituency.

We would hope that NOW’s study, along with the frustration expressed earlier this year after Sosniak was passed over, has raised that awareness and the next board of commissioners will work to correct the imbalance as opportunities arise.

This can only strengthen the agencies — and us as a community — that make decisions that affect the entire population.

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