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Council looks for new member

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
Jeannette City Council is down to four members, from left, Bill Bedont, Mark Clark, Mayor Robert Carter and Mark Levander. Councilman Jim Benson resigned his seat last month and council is searching for a replacement. Kristie Linden | The Jeannette Spirit

City Council planned to accept the resignation of Councilman Jim Benson during last night's voting meeting.

The meeting ended too late for this week's edition.

The resignation letter was submitted Dec. 31. City Solicitor Scott Avolio advised council at Monday's workshop meeting to appoint a new council member within 30 days of the letter's date. Avolio said he would do some research to determine if the date could be pushed back to start the 30-day period on the day council approves the resignation.

In either case, council is seeking letters from those interested in serving the remainder of the term, set to expire in December 2013. The seat was originally held by Ron Dinsmore, who resigned the seat in the fall of 2011. Bill Bedont was appointed to the spot, but resigned the seat when he was elected to a full four-year term. Council appointed Benson in February 2012.

City Clerk Michael Minyon said he has already received two letters from people interested in serving on council. Those who would like to be considered by council are encouraged to send a letter of interest to City Hall, 110 South Second St., Jeannette, PA 15644.

Letters should be submitted quickly. If council must fill the vacancy before Jan. 31, they would likely interview candidates earlier that week and then vote to appoint one of those interviewed. If Avolio learns the date can be pushed back, such a special meeting could occur the first week of February.

Council is also looking for interested applicants to fill vacancies on other boards and commissions. There is one opening on the Civil Service Commission, a four-year term, one opening on the Redevelopment Authority, a four-year term, and one opening on the Zoning Hearing Board, a three-year term.

All letters of interest in these boards must be submitted by Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. and can be delivered or mailed to City Hall.

Council reorganizes

City Council held its reorganization meeting this week and set its meeting schedule for the remainder of the year. Council voting meetings will remain the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. A workshop will be held the Monday immediately preceding the voting meeting each month, also at 6 p.m. Council plans to hold a second workshop meeting some months as needed.

Councilman Bill Bedont will remain the finance chair for 2013. Councilman Mark Levander is the director of public safety. Councilman Mark Clark will remain the director of parks and buildings. Levander will be library liaison, Clark and Bedont will serve on the recreation commission.

Mayor Robert Carter and Bedont will be police and fire pension fund members. Clark will serve on the Jeannette Ambulance board of trustees. Bedont will serve as the representative to Berkheimer Tax Administrator, with Levander acting as alternate.

Parking to be addressed

Police Chief Brad Shepler and Carter said this week the city police officers plan to begin rigorous enforcement of state parking rules and regulations beginning this month.

The biggest cause of concern, according to Shepler and Carter, are drivers who park their cars facing against traffic. Cars must be parked in the direction of traffic according to which side of the street they use.

Cars facing the wrong direction will be ticketed. Carter said the issue is one of safety as cars that park facing the wrong direction must cross traffic in order to leave a parking spot.

While the focus of this new effort will be those parked in the wrong direction, Carter said all parking laws related to the state vehicle code will be enforced strictly. This includes those who park on sidewalks, those who park too closely to fire hydrants and too closely to corners and intersections.

Carter said he wanted to get the word out about this targeted enforcement project as a way of warning residents to park correctly before officers begin ticketing in earnest.

“It's gotten totally out of hand. It's gotten to the point of near misses, etc. I tried to be sympathetic, but it's got to come to an end,” Carter said. “We'll give people (time) to change their ways, but we will be ticketing moving forward.”

Shepler also warned residents that despite snow creating issues for those who park on the streets, placing a chair on a cleared-out space is not a guarantee that the space will be saved. Shepler said chairs should not be placed on city streets.

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-838-5154.

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