Students take over Munhall council meeting
Munhall officials never looked younger as Park Elementary School third-graders took over Wednesday night's council meeting as part of the annual Government Days.
Students received first-hand looks at how local government is run by filling the roles of mayor, councilors, solicitor and other important positions and conducting business with their new peers.
“They did great,” council president Joe Ballas said. “They always do great. Future leaders, that's what they are. This is my favorite meeting every year.”
Ballas was joined by student Ben Novotny, who ran the meeting and made sure everyone knew when a motion passed and when the meeting was adjourned by banging the gavel.
Brandan Mains served as vice president. He was assisted by his adult counterpart Rob Falce.
“I thought that it's cool,” Brandan said. “I voted.”
Brandan said he plans on running for council when he gets older.
“This is one of the proudest times of my life,” Brandan's mother Elaine Mains said. “I think that they do understand (government), and I just think they got a bigger sense of community.”
Elaine Mains said her son shows leadership qualities. “He's very demanding,” she said.
Mayor Raymond Bodnar swore the children in to their respective posts prior to the start of the meeting.
“They're all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed,” Bodnar said afterward. “They're raring to go. I love this night. This is one of my favorite nights being mayor. The kids are the best.”
In school, students gave speeches and made campaign signs. Their classmates voted for those they wanted to fill the elected positions. Those elected to council filled non-elected positions with their other classmates.
Third-grader Matt Marrone was elected mayor. He said he ran a campaign about helping people.
“It's a hard job to do all the stuff,” Matt said about being mayor. “To tell everybody to do all those things ... (I) hope to make the community safer.”
Jill Fleming-Salopek, Steel Valley assistant high school principal and former borough councilwoman, watched with delight as her daughter Kelsey Salopek conducted herself as solicitor.
“It's a great exercise in government for these kids to learn not only about their community but the responsibility of being an elected official while working for the borough,” Fleming-Salopek said. “I really think the third-grade teachers do a great job with the whole exercise ... When the jobs came home (Kelsey) didn't know what a borough solicitor was. We talked about the different jobs, and that's how she ended up choosing that.”
“I thought it was fantastic,” Park Elementary principal Lauren Baughman said. “They have put together such great preparation for it. They've worked extremely hard, and I am extremely proud of them.”
Other third-grade councilors were Tatumn Coyle, Riley Furrick, Tyler VanHorn, Soraya Waddell and Brooke Weber. Other positions were filled by Kailey Haughey as borough manager, Katie Iwaniuk as borough secretary, Lexi Wallace as chief of police, Olivia Weis as police captain, Madison Bowman as detective, Megan Rager as fire chief, Cole Patrick Zugar as fire marshal, Michael Dugan Jr. as public works director, Veronica Brocato as borough engineer, Joey McMahon as code enforcement officer, JJ Faulk as paramedic, Sarah Katanick as EMT, Katie Ligeros as dispatcher, Alex Serenka as constable, Billy Curran as tax collector and Lornna Kostelnik as sewer authority manager.
Students will return to the borough building today around 11:45 a.m. for a tour of the facilities and learn more about Munhall daily operations as well as see a demonstration by firefighters and police.
A parade starts at 1 p.m. It goes from the borough building, up Main Street to W. Oliver Road and the school district's administrative offices, and ends at Park Elementary School near the intersection of Main and Cambria streets. The young officials will meet with their classmates there and continue the celebration.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Homestead Cemetery records will be preserved
- Hazelwood man shot in Homestead
- More Mon Valley communities add banners honoring veterans
- Mon Valley motorists can expect more traffic woes
- Brewster picked for Smith’s seat on Senate Appropriations Committee
- McKeesport Area students navigate obstacles
- Yankee Doodle Dandies still going strong
- Clairton school district draws from savings to balance budget
- Mon Valley region prepares to celebrate Fourth of July in style
- Steel Valley looks for replacements for 2 principals
- McKeesport city council OKs Tomovcsik to head fire dept.