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New board member appointed to represent 7th Ward in Ross Township

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Paul Trilli has joined the Ross Township Board of Commissioners as the new 7th Ward representative.

Trilli, operations director for Aramark at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, was chosen for the position in a 4-0 vote Dec. 20 during a meeting of the Ross Township vacancy board.

He replaced Gerald O'Brien, who resigned on Nov. 18 after being elected earlier in the month to serve as the township's tax collector.

Township commissioners Grace Stanko, Grant Montgomery and David Mikec and vacancy board chairman George Tunney voted for Trilli. The vacancy board includes the township's commissioners and Tunney.

Commissioner Lana Mazur attended the session but abstained from the vote.

Commissioners Peter Ferraro, John Sponcer, Chris Rand Eyster and Daniel DeMarco did not attend the meeting.

Retired truck driver Patrick Mullin was nominated for the position but did not receive any votes during the vacancy-board meeting, which had to be convened after commissioners failed to name a replacement for O'Brien on Dec. 16 because of a tied vote.

During the public-comment portion of the vacancy-board meeting, Mullin asked Tunney to step down from the vacancy board because he is employed by the township and employs Mazur at his cleaning business, which Mullin called a conflict of interest.

“There is absolutely no conflict of interest,” said township Solicitor Bonnie Brimmeier, who noted that the only qualification for the position of vacancy-board chairman is that he or she must reside in Ross and be a registered voter.

Mullin told the board he and his lawyer would take the issue to court.

Commissioners' votes at a Dec. 16 meeting were split 4-4, with half supporting Trilli and half supporting Mullin.

Brimmeier suggested immediately bringing in Tunney to break the tie, but debate over the legality of calling a meeting of the vacancy board without publicly advertising it drove commissioners Ferraro, Sponcer, Eyster and DeMarco, who did not think the meeting would be proper, to walk out.

Ferraro, Sponcer, Eyster and DeMarco voted for Mullin on Dec. 16, while Mazur, Stanko, Montgomery and Mikec voted for Trilli.

Trilli is one of three new commissioners who will be sworn in during January. Newly elected commissioners Jeremy Shaffer and Stephen Korbel are replacing Ferraro and Eyster, respectively.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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