3 seeking Fallowfield Township supervisor seat have different priorities
After nearly a decade as a Fallowfield Township supervisor and a career of public service that dates back to 1970, Olga Woodward will step down at the end of the year.
Although she voted to dissolve the township's police force in 2010 — a move that has come under fire by residents ever since — two of the three men vying to succeed her — Bruce Smith and Donn Henderson — say restoring police services is not their lone goal, if elected.
The third, Ron Large, could not be reached for comment.
All three are seeking the Democratic nomination for a six-year term as supervisor.
No Republicans filed to be on the ballot.
Smith has served for the past three years as commander of Mon Valley Divers Rescue Search and Recovery Team and formerly as assistant commander. He is a former township emergency management coordinator.
Retired from World Kitchen in 2008, he currently serves as facilities manager at the Mon Valley YMCA.
Smith has attended meetings with the Concerned Citizens of Fallowfield Township, a grassroots organization first formed over the issue of longwall mining in the community but has since advocated re-instating local police services.
Smith acknowledged that many township residents are expecting restoration of police services to top the agenda of the new supervisor.
“I hope people don't think that's my priority automatically,” Smith said. “Whether or not we should have an independent police force or contract with a regional should be a moving target and should be looked upon, based on need and financial considerations.”
Smith said, though, that township residents deserve to learn why the supervisors voted to dissolve the force.
Smith said hopes to continue progress recently made in parks and recreation.
“As one of the newest members of township planning commission, I think the planning commission is finally getting things done,” Smith said.
He added that township growth must be a priority.
“We should be doing things to encourage people to live here, start a small business here,” Smith said. “Once that happens, if you start to grow the township, then the need for additional police services grows. If we are in financial position to do that, we should look at all of the options.”
Smith said he has based his campaign on “integrity and leadership.”
“People should vote for me because I have a good track record of honesty and integrity,” Smith said. “I'm willing to step up and do what needs to be done. I'm not a person to take credit for what other people have done or might do in the future.”
Henderson is not new to township politics, having twice previously served as a township supervisor.
First elected in 1993, Henderson served from 1994 to 2000 and, after stepping down from the board, was re-elected in 2003.
He ran for the same post in 2011, losing by just 17 votes to Wilber D. Caldwell Jr.
Henderson also served for five years as Main Street Manager in Charleroi and four years in a similar capacity in Irwin. He is currently Charleroi's borough manager.
“As borough manager, I deal with government issues every day and am connected to the people that can help us,” Henderson said. “I bring expertise never provided before by a supervisor. I am connected to the programs that can help us.”
Henderson said he is “disappointed” the township is not utilizing the opportunities provided by legalized gambling and Marcellus shale operations.
“There's more money there than they've had in their history and we're not seeing results,” Henderson said.
“I'd like to see that revenues utilized — recreation and roads and some type of police protection.”
“The majority of people want some kind of local police protection. They're looking toward that end and what's best, both practical and financial.
Henderson said, if elected, he would modernize the township operations.
“And I'd look to regionalize services, not just with police but code enforcement, recreation — anything we can do to work with neighboring communities to improve and save money,” Henderson said.
Large is zoning and code enforcement officer as well as head of the street department for the township.
Large did not return numerous messages seeking input on his candidacy.
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
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.
- Belle Vernon Reality Tour offers close look at ‘nightmare’ of drug abuse
- Cops nab 4 in Monessen drug hangout
- Assistant band director drums up support to save Monessen building
- Brownsville native draws from life experience in series of books
- Belle Vernon Area, teachers reach deal early Tuesday, avoid strike
- ‘Color Run’ planned for Mon Valley
- Former Charleroi Area teacher who stole from union sentenced
- BVA strike still set for Tuesday
- Do you take too long to make important decisions?
- North Belle Vernon council settles dispute with borough couple
- Mount St. Macrina hosting annual pilgrimage