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Monroeville

No one appears on ballot for Monroeville Council seat — not even incumbent

Dillon Carr
| Thursday, May 17, 2018, 5:21 p.m.
Mayor Nick Gresock (L) swears in Eric Poach, newly appointed council member to fill a vacant Ward 2 council seat.
Dillon Carr | Tribune-Review
Mayor Nick Gresock (L) swears in Eric Poach, newly appointed council member to fill a vacant Ward 2 council seat.

No one seems to want an open seat on Monroeville Council.

The deadline to file nominating petitions in March passed with no takers, so voters last week were presented with no choices. The primary's winner could be determined by write-in votes.

According to unofficial results, 28 voters wrote in a candidate to fill a vacancy on Monroeville Council. A person must receive at least 10 votes to appear on the November ballot.

Eric Poach, a Democrat, was appointed in January to fill the seat when former Ward 2 Councilman Nick Gresock became mayor.

The municipality's home rule charter states that an appointed council member must run in the next election if he or she wants to serve a full term.

Poach said he tried to put his name on the ballot when he went to downtown Pittsburgh to file his nominating petitions, but he said the Allegheny County Elections Bureau told him he did not have to run this year.

The deadline to file with the county was March 6.

When Poach told Manager Tim Little and Robert Wratcher, the municipality's solicitor, that he didn't need to run this year, Little and Wratcher asked for confirmation of that in writing.

“When (Poach) was down at the county building submitting signatures, the attendant there says this is not a municipal election year. So there was a couple hours going back and forth. The bottom line, the (elections bureau) said he does not have to run,” Little said.

Poach said he has a letter from the county indicating he did not have to run, but the Tribune-Review could not independently verify that.

Believing that Poach did not have to run for his seat until 2019, Little submitted a letter dated March 13, which he and Wratcher signed, stating: “Dr. Nicholas J. Gresock has vacated his Ward 2 Council seat due to him being elected Mayor of Monroeville and sworn in on Jan. 2, 2018. Council appointed Eric Poach of Ward 2... to complete Dr. Gresock's term ending on Dec. 31, 2019.”

Despite Monroeville officials appointing Poach to serve until the end of 2019, Mark Wolosik, an Allegheny County elections official, put the office on the ballot.

“This happens all the time. People can write in Donald Duck or whoever they want,” Wolosik said.

The write-ins will be counted in the next couple weeks, Wolosik said.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325 .

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