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North Irwin councilman steps down

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:03 a.m.

North Irwin councilman Tom Harrison resigned, saying he felt disconnected from the rest of the board.

Harrison, a Democrat, submitted a short letter to council, which said, “After 34 years, it is time to move on,” which council accepted with a 6-0 vote.

Over the last several months, Harrison, 48, said, he had become disconnected from the position over the last several months due to the frequent negativity and confrontations between council members.

Harrison said although North Irwin is a small borough, serving on council had become a stressful job.

“I wasn't doing any good, and I didn't have a lot of input on things,” Harrison said. “Maybe somebody else could get in there with more enthusiasm and do some good.”

According to council President Kim Macalus, Harrison held three nonconsecutive terms on council. He was elected to his current term, which is set to expire on Dec. 31, during the 2009 municipal election.

“I was going to wait until the end of my term, but I thought that'd be too long to stay,” Harrison said. “North Irwin needs somebody now, but they don't need someone holding office that doesn't want to be there.

“I feel like I was becoming more of a hindrance than a help.”

Harrison joined the North Irwin Volunteer Fire Company in 1979 and served as its chief for 20 years. He was replaced in 2011 by current Chief Ron Rogers.

After being ousted as chief, Harrison became a member of the Larimer Volunteer Fire Department.

According to the state Borough Code, council has 30 days — until Feb. 13 — to appoint someone to fill the remainder of Harrison's term.

If council cannot agree on a replacement in that time, the borough's vacancy board would help appoint someone.

That board consists of the remaining six council members and vacancy chairman Dominic Laverde, a Democrat. The board would have 15 days to fill Laughery's seat. That gives the vacancy board a deadline of Feb. 28.

If the vacancy board does not act within by then, the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas would make a decision.

Manager Adele Nehas said council is accepting applications to fill Harrison's seat. Anyone interested should bring a letter of interest to North Irwin Town Hall, 21 Second St., North Irwin.

Council plans to appoint his replacement during the Feb. 11 voting meeting.

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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