Councilman will resign to head up McKeesport community development
Two former political opponents say they are putting aside their differences to work together in McKeesport's best interest.
Councilman A.J. Tedesco is expected to resign from his position at a special Monday night meeting and join Mayor Michael Cherepko's administration.
Tedesco lost his mayoral bid to Cherepko in the 2011 Democratic primary.
“I was definitely shocked when the mayor approached me (last month),” Tedesco said. “We've been friends for almost 30 years, and that personal relationship didn't really go away, even with some contentious times on council.”
Cherepko will appoint Tedesco community development director, a position vacated on May 31 when Bethany Bauer accepted an early retirement package.
Bauer, a city employee for more than 18 years, was named to the position in 2000 when then-Mayor Wayne Kucich fired Dennis Pittman.
Tedesco will manage Community Development Block Grant funds, oversee the ordinance office and consult with the building inspector on matters related to demolitions.
“As a lifelong resident of the city, (Tedesco) is very familiar with the needs of the community,” Cherepko said. “Between his experience on city council and his educational background, his qualifications speak for themselves.”
Tedesco has a bachelor's degree in political science and history from the University of Pittsburgh, and was enrolled in a law and public policy master's program at California University of Pennsylvania.
He was employed for six years in the county clerk of courts office beginning in 2002, and was named assistant director of computer operations in 2003 and director of external collections and restitution in 2004.
When the county consolidated its row offices in 2008, Tedesco was transferred to the civil court division's finance department.
“I have a financial background in dealing with other governmental and private agencies,” he said.
Tedesco was elected to council in 2010 and won re-nomination for his seat in May's primary election.
Council will appoint a replacement to serve the five months remaining in his term. The McKeesport Democratic Committee will select a replacement for the November ballot.
Tedesco said he is excited to take on a new role that allows him to play an active role in city's daily operation.
“I hope the voters will feel the same confidence in me in my new position,” he said. “It's a much larger role.”
Tedesco and Cherepko said they are sending a powerful message by choosing to work together.
“We need to be above politics and put our differences aside in order to focus on working together for the best interest of this city,” Cherepko said. “That's what our administration is all about – working together for a better McKeesport.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or email@example.com.