Mt. Pleasant Borough Councilman Kevin McFeaters to resign
By A.J. Panian
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant Borough Councilman Kevin McFeaters said he will resign his post at Monday's council meeting.
Since January 2012, McFeaters has represented the borough's First Ward on council. He said he was resigning because he recently relocated with his family to a residence in Mt. Pleasant Township.
“I needed more room. My place in the First Ward was a duplex. I got my fourth child due in April,” said McFeaters, adding that he plans to submit an official letter of resignation at Monday's meeting.
Borough code dictates that a council member must not only maintain his or her borough residency, they must also reside within the specific ward which they were elected to represent on the governing body, said borough Mayor Jerry Lucia.
The day after council's March 4 meeting, McFeaters sent emails and made telephone calls notifying fellow council members and borough administrators of his intent to resign, according to borough Manager Jeff Landy.
McFeaters was not in attendance at that meeting. He also admitted that he felt he didn't give council very much advance notice of his intent to relinquish his duties.
“It's so hard to get a (home mortgage) loan and, unless I got one, I wasn't going to resign because I wasn't going to move,” he said.
In December 2011, McFeaters, 36, a registered Republican, was declared the victor in a general election race for a four-year term on council in representation of the borough's First Ward.
The victory came after McFeaters mounted a write-in campaign that fall to unseat then-incumbent Democratic borough Councilman Michael Tabita, who served the borough for more than two decades.
As a residential landlord in the borough, McFeaters said previously that his impetus for conducting the write-in campaign grew from talks he had with other landlords who joined him in opposition to a 2010 ordinance requiring residential landlords to obtain occupancy licenses from the borough and pay biannual inspection fees.
“I didn't ever really plan on being on council, except that the rental ordinance compelled me to run,” McFeaters said.
In September, Westmoreland County Judge Anthony Marsili dismissed three counts in a lawsuit filed in April by the Greater Mt. Pleasant Area Landlords Association against the ordinance.
Marsili ruled the ordinance does not violate the Constitution or landlords' rights, as the association, which represents 40 residential rental property owners in the borough, had contended in the suit.
In November, borough council adopted amendments to the ordinance that were intended to address the concerns expressed by Marsili in his 15-page opinion and order of Sept. 6 regarding guidelines for appeals and fees.
The borough presented Marsili with a copy of the amended ordinance at a Nov. 28 status conference.
The stay of the enforcement provisions of the ordinance was vacated March 1, according to the order.
McFeaters said he regrets not being able to utilize his position on council in an effort to further the debate of amending the ordinance or even repealing it altogether.
“I'm disappointed that council wasn't more open-minded about changing the rental ordinance, but I liked serving on council, and it was a good learning experience,” he said.
Lucia said McFeaters' decision to resign comes as a “shock” to him, particularly with the headway McFeaters seemed to be making as chairman of the borough's parks and recreation committee.
“I am really caught by surprise,” Lucia said.
McFeaters recently factored heavily in a decision by council to have five trees located between the retaining wall and the walking track at Frick Park removed later this month or in early April due to root damage to the wall and track.
“Personally, I can't say anything bad about Kevin. He has a young family, and I wish him a lot of luck,” Lucia said.
McFeaters said he would like to remain active as a volunteer in the Mt. Pleasant community.
“I'll probably do something again in the future in politics,” he said.
If council votes to accept McFeaters' planned resignation, its remaining members will be faced with the task of appointing someone to carry out his term until the primary election in 2015.
“Council will have to accept letters of interest, interview candidates and make a selection,” Lucia said.
A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or email@example.com.
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