South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Bernardini sworn in as new Mt. Oliver Boro mayor

Short window open to apply for vacant council seat

 

January 9, 2018

District Magisterial Judge Richard King administers the Oath of Office to new Mt. Oliver Mayor Frank Bernardini at the Borough Reorganization Meeting on January 2.

The Mount Oliver Borough Council will maintain the status quo with the election of Amber McGough as Council President at the 2018 Reorganization Meeting.

The brief meeting began with the swearing in of borough Tax Collector Tina Carcia and new Mayor Fran Bernardini by District Magisterial Judge Richard King. Re-elected council members taking the oath of office included Nick Viglione, Barbara Keener and David Lowe.

Following the swearing in ceremonies, the council reaffirmed several appointments including Rick Hopkinson as Borough Manager; Kathy Connolly as Borough Secretary and Diane Holzer as Borough Treasurer. In addition, Gateway Engineers will remain Borough Engineers; Goehring, Rutter & Boehm as Borough Solicitors; and Grass Root Solutions will continue as the borough's planning consultant.

The council also appointed Councilman Justin Viale to represent the borough on several SHACOG boards, including the SHACOG Board of Directors, Franchising Authority Board and Cable TV Review Board. Ms. McGough will serve as the borough's alternate on each of the boards.

All votes to this point were unanimous at 6-0.

Ms. McGough said committee assignments will be discussed at the council's agenda meeting. Until that time, committee assignments will remain the same as 2017. The agenda meeting is held on the second Monday of every month at 7 p.m.

The only initial change would be the alternate stepping forward to chair the Code Enforcement Committee formerly headed by David Beltz.

In New Business, Ms. McGough read a resolution appointing Mr. Beltz to the vacant council seat. The seat became available when Mr. Bernardini ran for both mayor and council in the General Election, winning both. He decided to take the mayor's office, leaving the council seat vacant.

Ms. McGough said in prior years when there was a council vacancy, the seat was advertised and interested borough residents were able to submit a letter of interest. The council would then choose from among those who applied to fill the seat.

"I would suggest doing that so it is fair, and other people might want to apply to be on council," she said.

"I know what I get with Dave Beltz, he's seasoned, he's been there," Mr. Viglione said.

Ms. McGough said there may be long-time resident in the borough who has run for council in the past or other interested residents who may want to apply. "Giving everyone a fair shot is what I would recommend."

Mr. Bernardini said Mr. Beltz was the "logical choice," adding that over the past 10 months there have been people who have said they wanted to be on the council but have only given "lip service."

"You're not going to go through that treadmill again, to appoint the man who has experience in the job," he added. "He's the best person for the council right now."

Ms. Keener said she agreed with Mr. Bernardini, but "in all fairness, I was a replacement councilperson for five years and every time there was a vacancy, I had to write a letter of application that I was interested in the position."

Ms. McGough also said he had to submit a letter of interest to fill a vacant seat.

The council voted 4-2 in favor of advertising the position and asking for letters of interest. Mr. Viglione and Tina Reft were the dissenting votes.

Although the council will be opened the process to any resident who has lived in borough for at least a year, letters of interest must be submitted to the Borough Office, 150 Brownsville Road, by noon on Friday, January 12. Candidates will then be interviewed immediately preceding the January 15 Open Meeting.

The tight timeline is required by law. Council is required to fill the empty council seat within 30 days with the clock ticking beginning that evening (January 2). Members felt there wasn't a need for a Special Meeting of council to fill the vacancy, that there adequate time for residents to apply and be considered before the January 15 General Meeting.

 

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