Monroeville residents can 'speak out' in primary
If there is a silver lining to the dark political cloud that has formed over Monroeville in recent weeks, it is the timing of it all.
Residents can cast their opinions at the ballot box May 21, the muncipal primary. Six elected positions are up for grabs this year, including mayor, four on the seven-member council and the tax collector. Those candidates who are nominated will advance to the general election Nov. 5.
Mayor Greg Erosenko and council members Diane Allison, Lois Drumheller, Bernhard Erb and Clarence Ramsey have terms ending this year, in addition to Tax Collector Pat Fulkerson.
Erosenko said he plans to run for re-election. Despite a crossfire of accusations between Erosenko and his political opponents in recent months, which have called into question the character of officials on both sides, Erosenko said he is confident he will reclaim the seat.
“They'll see me out there working my butt off,” Erosenko said. “I do not take elections for granted.”
Councilman Bernhard Erb said last month that he would neither confirm nor deny reports that he also is running for mayor this year. Erb could not be reached for comment this week. Allison declined to comment for this story.
Council member Clarence Ramsey said that this is his last term on council. He said that recent events behind closed doors and on television news have hit too close to home.
“It's embarrassing to my family,” Ramsey said. “We're church people.”
He said that despite knowing former police Chief Doug Cole for years, he had concerns about the police department that needed to be addressed. Interim manager Lynette McKinney demoted Cole to sergeant last month.
“We're fighting issues here that (political opponents) are not putting together properly,” Ramsey said.
In January, then-municipal manager Jeff Silka wrote in a letter to solicitor Bruce Dice that council member Diane Allison — whom he claimed was speaking on behalf of a majority of council — told him to remove Cole as police chief or they would remove him. He said Allison then made him repeat it back to her.
Ramsey said he regrets some of their methods.
“Some of the stuff we did was just not nice,” Ramsey said.
Drumheller said last week that she will run for re-election.
She said her concerns with the police department were valid, and she questions the credibility of a few former council members who have criticized the majority at recent meetings.
She said they are the same people who, when they were on council 15 years ago, voted a former manager and solicitor out of office for reasons other than job performance.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.