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Former Carnegie councilman tapped for Allegheny County Council appointment

| Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, 7:30 p.m.

Allegheny County Council Democrats plan to appoint recently resigned Carnegie Council President Pat Catena to fill the District 4 seat Michael Finnerty vacated last month, Council President John DeFazio told the Tribune-Review on Monday evening.

If the full council approves the appointment Tuesday, Catena will serve at least until the November general district election. Democrats hold a 9-5 majority with the vacancy.

Council Democrats gathered Monday evening in a closed-door meeting to interview two candidates: Catena and Frank Bruckner, who is in his second year serving on the Scott Township Board of Commissioners.

Catena, 44, served as a member of Carnegie Council for about eight years before resigning this month.

“Carnegie has come a long way compared to where we were in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan almost wiped us off the map,” Catena said. “I'd like to transfer my experience to some other areas of the county.”

While Catena was on Carnegie Council, Carnegie Park was revitalized and the borough doubled its annual funding to the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall to keep its doors open, he said.

Catena, vice president of the Char-West Council of Governments, said he worked with Finnerty closely in that role.

Reached Monday, Finnerty said he was not making an endorsement.

“Whoever the (council's) Democratic caucus endorses, that's who I'm going to endorse,” said Finnerty, a Scott Democrat who served on council for 11 years before resigning to take a job in newly elected state Rep. Anita Astorino Kulik's office.

Catena's appointment to council would last until the November general election. At that time, voters will select someone to serve the rest of Finnerty's term, which ends at the end of 2017, as well as someone for the new four-year term beginning in 2018.

Catena plans to run for both, he said. Bruckner, who did not get the nod from the council Democrats, said he too plans to run for the full term.

A senior financial analyst for Apria Healthcare, Catena is a third-generation, lifelong resident of Carnegie, he said. He holds bachelor degrees from University of Pittsburgh in communications and political science, he said.

The council's 4th District includes Avalon, Carnegie, Collier, Crafton, Heidelberg, Kennedy, McDonald, McKees Rocks, Neville, Oakdale, Pennsbury Village, Robinson, Scott, South Fayette, Stowe and Thornburg.

Carnegie is seeking a replacement for Catena on its council to serve the remainder of his term, through Jan. 1. Interested borough residents in Ward 2 can submit letters of interest to: President, Carnegie Borough Council, 1 Veterans Way, Carnegie, PA 15106, no later than Jan. 27, according to the borough's website.

Theresa Clift is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5669 or tclift@tribweb.com.

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