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Monessen council adds city clerk, solicitor

| Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 1:11 a.m.

With a new administration in place, Monessen city council on Wednesday hired a new solicitor and city clerk while setting a new time for business meetings.

With new Mayor Lou Mavrakis conducting the meeting, council unanimously hired Al Gaudio as solicitor and Holly Minno as city clerk, respectively, replacing Mark Shire and recently retired Rosalie Nicksich.

Minno, previously in charge of accounts and finance, will receive an annual salary of $40,000. Council voted to advertise for candidates for the accounts and finance slot.

Gaudio, a former city solicitor, received an $18,000 retainer fee. He will receive a $95 per hour legal fee and $150 court fee.

Gaudio did not attend Wednesday's meeting because it coincided with a commissioners' meeting in Rostraver Township, where he is solicitor. Attorney Tim Maatta sat in for Gaudio.

Council agreed to meet 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month. It will conduct work sessions 5:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

Council previously met 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month with the work session conducted on the prior Monday.

Mavrakis said after the meeting that police Chief John Mandarino, based on recommendations by council members, will continue to lead the force.

Former Mayor Mary Jo Smith promoted Mandarino June 1 to replace retired Chief Mark Gibson. Mavrakis said that in 2013, police made 1,327 arrests.

“I sat down with council and said, who do you like for chief of police? And they all liked Mandarino, so I stuck with Mandarino,” Mavrakis said.

“Can I recommend somebody? Yes. I have a vote here just like everybody else. But I let everyone make their own suggestions and recommendations … and that's the way I'm going to do things.”

The future of Municipal Fire Chief Delmar Hepple will be based on a recommendation by Councilman John Nestor, department of public safety chairman.

Mavrakis said Nestor will consider all candidates for the post and make his recommendations to council, most likely by next month's agenda meeting.

Council hired Andre Crosby for a full-time street department position. He will receive $9.50 per hour. Council will advertise for a full-time code enforcement officer.

Council approved an agreement between the city and the Douglas School of Business to lease property adjacent to the Herman Mihalich Boat Launch for commercial driver's licence classes. Mavrakis said trucks will not be stored at the site.

If any events are taking place at the boat launch, classes will not be conducted, he said.

Mavrakis said his administration wants to form a partnership between the city and school owner Jeffrey Imbrescia.

Council approved a resolution for the Mon Valley Sewage Authority to move ahead on its proposed satellite treatment facility, along the riverfront in the Eastgate section.

Authority general manager Tom Salak said the action was necessary because of a city ordinance passed last year that delayed construction.

He said the resolution is part of the criteria for permit applications to be submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“All the zoning issues we had were cleared up, but because of the delay, we were unable to move forward,” Salak said after the meeting. If we'd have started this eight months ago like we wanted to, we'd have been grandfathered in. But since then, the DEP changed a requirement that any new construction must have a 537 plan along with it for each of the municipalities.”

Act 537 is the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, which is designed to correct existing sewage disposal problems and prevent future problems.

Donora and Carroll Township, the two other municipalities served by the authority, have already approved plans.

If the DEP issues permits, construction should begin near the end of 2014, Salak said.

The project includes installation of approximately 15,000 feet of sanitary sewer line in Donora and Monessen.

During the public comment session, city Controller Wayne Vlasic clarified statements he made at Monday's work session about the Monessen city building becoming a possible site for alcohol highway safety school classes.

Vlasic said the city is not guaranteed as a site for the classes, and a proposal still must be submitted to the Westmoreland County Adult Probation office.

Adult probation wants to establish sites in the northern and southern ends of the county.

Vlasic said a Westmoreland County Veterans Affairs satellite office is open at 100 Seventh St. from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

Council approved a Veteran's Day parade on Nov. 8.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-684-2635.