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Monessen Civic Authority back

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 12:46 a.m.

Nearly four years after being dissolved, the Monessen Civic Authority has been re-established.

City council unanimously voted Wednesday to establish a new authority. Josh Retos, the lone carryover from the council that dissolved the authority in April 2010, voted back then against the move.

Council approved the following authority appointments: Leroy Bright, one-year term; Donald Caterino and Cheryl Fleming, two-year terms; John Palmer and Robert Zynosky II, three-year terms; Roberta Bergstedt and Lee Johnson, four-year terms; and Eugene Sedlak and Marlon Wheeler, five-year terms.

After the authority was dissolved, management of the Monessen Civic Center was turned over to Monessen Communities That Care – a community-based prevention initiative that formed in 2001 and serves under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

Communities That Care operates several programs for youths in the Monessen School District.

Most recently, volunteer Bonnie Smiley managed the civic center. She resigned in December.

The authority was dissolved amidst alleged personality issues involving city officials and the board. At the time of the dissolution, Lee Johnson, then the acting authority president, said his group made “every attempt” to work with council.

He disputed claims that the authority board did not provide audits to council.

On Wednesday, Councilwoman Patricia Bukowski said the city expects to have summer recreation programs in the civic center and around the city. In addition to managing the civic center, the new authority will oversee recreation programs in Monessen.

In other news, council hired Donald “Buzzy” Bryon as full-time code enforcement officer at an annual salary of $40,000.

Leona Snyder said her son, Tony, was not considered for the position. She said he was laid off from a city job and should have been interviewed. He was doing similar work for $9 an hour on a part-time basis, she said.

Resident Ernie Telegraphis asked why council decided to pay Byron $40,000 a year.

Mayor Lou Mavrakis said the code enforcement office brings in $250,00 a year, adding that the city was not receiving that amount in the past because it did not have a full-time code enforcement officer.

Solicitor Al Gaudio told council not to discuss the issue in the public meeting environment because it involved a personnel matter.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or