A Mayor Among Us

By Nick Miller
NEWS Reporter


oger Defibaugh can been seen all around the campus athletic facilities—waxing the gym floors, painting lines on the football field, driving around with water jugs in his signature gator—but one of his most important duties is one that most of the school does not even know about: Mayor of Mercersburg. NEWS sat down with Mayor Defibaugh (whom everyone just calls Roger) to talk about his role in town and on campus.

Mercersburg News: So something that a lot of students here might not know is that you are in fact the Mayor of Mercersburg. When did you run for and become mayor?

Roger Defibaugh: Well I actually did not run for election; I was appointed when the previous mayor moved out of town, and that was this past May. I am finishing up his term, which will run until December 31, 2017. So I have a year and a couple of weeks to go.

MN: What kinds of responsibilities does that job entail?

RD: A mayor in Pennsylvania is essentially the head of the police department. I manage the funding, the equipment, staffing issues, hiring, basically everything to make sure the department is running efficiently.

MN: What kind of a time commitment is that for you? Are you in there every day, once a week, once a month?

RD: It’s whatever I feel like doing, if I want to run in every day to see what is going on I can, which I try not to do. I try not to micromanage. I usually go in once a week and just sit down with the chief of police and talk to him and see if there are any issues that we need to address.

MN: The local community does so much for our school, through providing the business that keeps us supplied to just being a supportive space for our students to live and learn. Since you deal with both the school and town on a regular basis, what do you think are the good things that Mercersburg Academy brings to the town?

RD: Well, aside from the obvious answer of being a big consumer for local business, the Academy does a lot for employment. One of the things that people overlook is the number of jobs for people in Mercersburg, but also in some of the smaller communities like Montgomery Township, Peters, Lemasters, and even as far as Chambersburg and Shippensburg.

MN: Do you really enjoy your job as mayor? Or is it more of something that you don’t mind, but you mostly do it because were appointed to? Do you plan on running for mayor at the end of your term?

RD: Reelection is a decision I haven’t made quite yet. I’ll have to see how it goes for the next couple of months before I make that choice. I was on the Borough Council for some time in the mid-90s and early 2000s, so I knew what the mayorship entailed, but it is much more involved than I ever imagined.

Before the interview, I told Roger that the article would to focus on his service to the town and how important it is. He humbly expressed that he didn’t feel that it was all that important. However, someone has to do it. Local service is important, and Roger—along with all members of the Borough Council—does his job for free. No tax dollars end up in his pocket. So, next time you see him, be sure to say thank you to the mayor.

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