3 seek to unseat incumbent in North Versailles Township
A former commissioner, a former East Allegheny school director and a former social worker want to unseat the North Versailles Township Ward 6 commissioner.
“I did the job,” said Arthur (Art) Marra, 64, who unseated Kash Snyder in the spring Democratic primary in 2009, then turned back Snyder's write-ins that fall. “I actually fulfilled every issue in my campaign.”
In a nutshell, Marra said he wanted to make the township as fiscally healthy as his business has been for 46 years.
By the end of his second year on the board, Marra said, “We owed nothing, not a penny.”
Making bids on the Democratic ballot to unseat Marra are Snyder, former school director Vince Paradine and retired Turtle Creek Valley Mental Health research coordinator Judy A. Slater.
No Republican filed in Ward 6.
“Experience and cooperation are what are going to move us forward in the next four years,” Snyder, 43, said, pledging to make “efficiency and local government synonymous” if he is elected.
“My financial background is an asset and I think it proved to be an asset the first time around,” Snyder said. “I want things to be done right and for the money to be well spent.”
Snyder recalled when state Rep. Joseph Markosek, D-Monroeville, helped the township find a $10,000 state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant for a basketball court project at Fairhaven Park.
“I donated the rims, the backboards and the hoops,” Snyder recalled, crediting township police and road crews for their roles.
“I would say in the past 15 years, maybe 20, I have not seen any of my tax dollars benefit me or the community,” said Slater, 63, who has lived in North Versailles since 1977 and raised two children who now live and work in the township.
“We had so many parks for our kids, and playgrounds, there was so much for our kids to do,” Slater said. “We have nothing now but two small fields.”
She earned an associate degree in science and information processing at Community College of Allegheny County South Campus and a bachelor's degree in social work and family counseling from California University of Pennsylvania.
She worked in intensive care management for old Mon Yough MH/MR, now Mon Yough Community Services, and was a research coordinator for the mental services unit in Turtle Creek Valley MH/MR.
Paradine, 65, has the Democratic committee endorsement.
“You have old-school people who still believe in the endorsement,” Paradine said. “I believe in the endorsement process, that is why I asked for it.”
He first was elected to the school board when his son was in kindergarten and served until 2007 when he was replaced by Dr. Fred Miller.
“I have experience in the political arena being on the school board and working on the (North Versailles Township Sanitary Authority),” Paradine said. “I know a little bit about what (Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport) is doing raising our rates 29 percent in one year.”
Paradine favors the forensic audit sought by communities that tap in to MACM.
“I know the inner workings (of North Versailles Township government) better, I believe, than some of my opponents,” he said. “I'm not there for glory or money. I just believe things can be better without criticizing anyone else; we can do a better job as a community just by paying attention to the little things.”
A fifth candidate considered a write-in effort and posted signs near the township fire hall where Ward 6 balloting will take place.
However, former Civil Service commissioner April Martin said on Friday she decided for personal reasons not to pursue that effort, but instead to endorse Marra.
Two other commissioner posts are up for grabs in North Versailles. In both cases there are challenges in the Democratic primary while no Republicans filed.
In Ward 2 Joseph Kutch is challenging incumbent Daryl Mitchell. In Ward 4 Norman Stitt is challenging incumbent Samuel Juliano.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967.