New mayors resolve to keep towns safe
By Patrick Cloonan
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
New mayors take office next week in Dravosburg, Elizabeth, Glassport, Jefferson Hills, Liberty, Lincoln, Pleasant Hills, West Elizabeth and Wilmerding.
All are Democrats except for former Pleasant Hills Councilman Robert S. Bootay III, who succeeds fellow Republican Warren Bourgeois.
Bootay resolved “to work to maintain the excellence of our police department, to strengthen our borough's sense of community, and to achieve both of these objectives in a fiscally responsible manner.”
Women now hold the highest office in eight Mon-Yough towns, including Betty Esper in Homestead and Ina Jean Marton in White Oak.
Two councilors defeated incumbents in November voting — Susan Bowers-Pershing over Ralph P. Harrington in West Elizabeth and V. Ann Malady over David Householder in Elizabeth.
“I wish continued economic and business development within the borough and for our citizens,” Malady said. “I want them to feel safe and happy and enjoy the new year in their homes, surrounded by people who love and care for them.”
Her father, the late Regis Malady, was a councilman, mayor and state representative from Elizabeth.
“Elizabeth is the town where I was born and raised,” Malady said. “We seek to look out for one another. The Monongahela River flows through our veins. I'm happy to give something back to the community.”
The bridge that carries Route 51 over the Mon between Elizabeth and West Elizabeth is named after Malady's father.
In 2013 PennDOT posted weight limits on the bridge and a detour through downtown Elizabeth. The Public Utility Commission rejected Elizabeth's appeal of an order that its police, who patrol both boroughs, enforce the limits.
“I'm very concerned,” Malady said. “I've been in contact with PennDOT and the folks in Harrisburg. I'm monitoring that on a daily basis.”
Bowers-Pershing could not be reached for comment.
In Jefferson Hills, Jan Cmar moved from council to the mayor's office in September when Michael Green resigned for health reasons. She was the nominee for the Democrat and Republican parties in November's mayoral election.
Cmar resolved “to strengthen recreation and to better recognize our public safety personnel and our military servicemen and women. We need to fill spots on our recreation board and make fields more accessible.”
Fields at 885 and Beedle parks are used for a variety of sports. Cmar asked coaches to join the recreation board.
In Glassport, Rosemary Bradley replaces Michael Evanovich, who ran unsuccessfully for council.
“My resolution for 2014 is to use my energy and effort to preserve, protect and reinvest in the place we all call home, working with the police and fire departments and council as a team,” Bradley said. “I firmly believe that, with teamwork, pride in our community, commitment, a new vision and direction, we will move our community forward.”
For nearly two decades until 2004 Bradley was executive director of Twin Rivers Council of Governments. Her pledge includes “preserving law and order and enforcing ordinances and regulations; protecting the safety, health and welfare of the community residents; and reinvesting in our assets, our children and property.”
Dravosburg Mayor-elect Michelle Vezzani thanked predecessor John Powell for his service and dedication.
“I am focused on what it takes to make our community viable and safe,” said Vezzani, who was council finance chairman. “I plan to work closely with our public safety servants to make sure we are delivering top-notch services that can make our citizens feel protected in their homes and on our streets.”
Vezzani has a concern shared by other Mon-Yough towns.
“It is very difficult for our voices to be heard at a higher level,” Vezzani said. “A community of less than 2,000 residents deserves just as much attention as a large community or city. For that to happen, we need a voice at the state level that lets our elected officials know and understand our problems.”
She pledged to work closely with state Sen. James Brewster and Rep. Bill Kortz and Allegheny County Council “in an effort to move our community along in a positive way.”
James R. Wright is Wilmerding's fourth mayor in three years. The late Dominick Pomposelli resigned for health reasons, Jack Mason served briefly, and Dominic Parisi was elected to finish Pomposelli's term but was sidelined by a traffic accident.
“Number one, I've got to try to find some assistance for John Graf (of Priory Hospitality Group), who is trying to buy the Castle and turn it into a bed and breakfast and a restaurant,” Wright said. “Apparently he has everything in place except for some of the financing he needs to do the renovation. I want to get hold of Sen. Brewster and see what he can do on the (Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, where Brewster is minority chairman), not necessarily to give him money but to turn him in the right direction.”
Wright's number two resolution is “to clean up this town” and deal with absentee landlords, an ongoing problem.
“We've been having some problems with a slumlord,” Wright said. “There's a lot of transient renters and, number one, the borough is not getting the fees they're supposed to get for renters, because renters are being moved in without the fees being paid for (occupancy permits).”
Liberty council president M. Jane Weigand, who succeeds longtime incumbent Edward Slater, resolved “to continue my commitment to the borough residents, to make the borough a healthy and safe place to live.
“I want my family to be thankful for every day and to be happy and healthy.” Weigand said.
Lincoln Volunteer Fire Co. president James J. Beisler said his predecessor Nick Vay is “one of my best friends.”
“I would like to see residents get more involved in the borough,” Beisler said. “I think everyone should be involved in their community.”
Beisler decided to seek the job when Vay announced his retirement, and pledged to continue his work.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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