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Even When You Beat Them, You Can't Always Join Them

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SCOTLAND NECK — February 26, 1996, 3:18 p.m., EST"So near and yet so far" may well be the lament of the Scotland Neck mayor Frank Buzerak.

Buzerak was duly elected to the post last November. He even possesses the key to the mayor's office.

What he doesn't have is the key to the municipal building.

And the town council is not about to give it to him.

Buzerak won the mayor's job by write-in. He displaced Ferd Harrison, a man who had been Scotland Neck's mayor for the previous 30 years.

Prior to winning the mayor's race, Buzerak had been city utilities director. Fired from that post, Buzerak filed suit against the city and waged his write-in campaign for mayor.

Mayor Pro Tem Robert Partin consulted with the council's attorney and concluded Buzerak cannot be in the building unsupervised until the suit is resolved.

Consequently, Partin and his fellow council members won't issue Buzerak the other key. The mayor can enter the building only during its usual business hours, can't work late or come in early.

So Buzerak has established what he calls his "office-in-exile." He works from home and picks up his official mail through the municipal drive-through window.

Top song on The Hit Parade of the Scotland Neck town council is apparently, "We Hear You Knocking, But You Can't Come In.

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