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Races open up in Mt. Lebanon, Dormont

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The ballot in Mt. Lebanon and Dormont will be crowded in May, as decisions by several candidates not to seek re-election opened up races to competition in the primary.

In Dormont, longtime Mayor Tom Lloyd's decision not to run prompted three candidates to declare for his seat. They join eight candidates for council in forming two slates. All candidates are registered as Democrats, meaning the primary will effectively decide the election. The top four vote-getters on the council ballot will be seated.

On one slate, recently retired Dormont police Chief Phil Ross is running to replace his old boss, Lloyd. As chief, he and Lloyd joined together against the former manager and borough council in a battle over control of the police department.

“I certainly have been talking to Phil,” Lloyd said. “He wants to maintain the order we've established over the last year in the police department, and I certainly hope he wins.”

Ross' ticket includes council members Jeff Fabus, Joan Hodson and Willard McCartney, along with recent transplant Matt Hamilton, a financial adviser who moved to Dormont from the Los Angeles area.

“We were really fortunate with where we landed,” said Hamilton, 34, who lauded Dormont's friendliness and affordability for young families. “What struck me is the opportunities that exist for Dormont over the next 10 years. ... It got me to really consider where I could fit in the community, how I could contribute.”

The other slate is headed by mayoral candidate Richard Grubb, who served on council in the 1990s and early 2000s as part of the first Democratic majority in 20 years. He is running with incumbent councilman Eugene Barilla, lawyer Mary Elizabeth Andriko-Moore, former councilman Drew Lehman and laborer Sean Keller, who has campaigned for prominent Democrats. Also on the ticket are Neely Crowell, who is running for Keystone Oaks school board and Harvey Lieberman, who is seeking re-election as tax collector.

Lehman, who served a term on council starting in 2008 before losing his seat by just 25 votes, said he wanted to get back in office so he could resume his work with programs like the Allegheny Together grant program for Dormont's business district.

“I think we made some good progress in my first four years. ... We made some great strides in improving the appearance and perception of Dormont,” he said.

Mayoral candidate Walter Amman, a retired City of Pittsburgh employee who could not be reached for comment, was the only candidate not running on a ticket with someone else. Lloyd said he remembered Amman telling him years ago that he'd be interested in running once Lloyd left office.

In neighboring Mt. Lebanon, school director Josephine Posti is not running for re-election, and incumbent Dan Remely is simultaneously running for school board and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, according to county elections filings. Five candidates filed to run for the four open seats on the school board.

Retired accountant and PTA member Durwood Hill, Salvation Army emergency services director Michael Jon Riemer and lawyer William J. Moorhead will join incumbents Mary Birks and Remely on the ballot.

All the candidates cross-filed as Democrats and Republicans so they will appear on both parties' ballots. But Remely, a registered Republican, will be running on his own. The other four formed a Democratic slate for joint campaigning and fundraising.

Remely is also running in a special election against former Mt. Lebanon Commissioner Dan Miller for the House seat in Harrisburg formerly held by Matt Smith, who this year won a special election to fill the 37th District state Senate seat.

If Remely wins the House seat, the rest of the school board will nominate a replacement for him.

The primary will be quiet in the race for Mt. Lebanon's Board of Commissioners, because only one candidate from each party has filed for the two seats up for grabs. Republican Samantha Scrivner, a claims examiner for the UPMC Health Plan, will challenge incumbent Democrat Dave Brumfield, a lawyer, to represent Mt. Lebanon's 4th ward. Republican Jack Doyle and Democrat Steve Silverman both filed to run in the 2nd ward, where current Republican commissioner Matt Kluck declined to run for re-election.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or msantoni@tribweb.com.

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