Seats could remain open on several small Westmoreland councils
If you are a registered voter in a small borough that can't generate enough write-in votes, the court could mandate your public service.
It's a dilemma playing out in small boroughs scattered around Westmoreland County. Ballots for public office in some communities — including North Irwin, Arona, Madison and Adamsburg — are incomplete, which leaves vacancies on council.
“It does happen,” Jim Montini, director of the Westmoreland County Election Bureau, said.
If there are vacancies in elected office, council members have 30 days to fill them, according to the Pennsylvania Borough Code. If that doesn't work, council will form a vacancy board that has 15 days to fill open positions.
If still open, the vacancy board must petition the Court of Common Pleas to appoint a resident who is registered to vote in the community.
There is no information available regarding how often the court must appoint registered voters to serve.
In North Irwin borough, six four-year council terms are up for election.
Those not seeking reelection are Matt Berkhouse, Council President Kim Macalus and Kenneth Galley.
A two-year slot is available in this election because of the death of Bernie Reynolds, who passed away in May.
Gina Sonnik and John McIntyre are the only names on the ballots for the openings.
McIntyre originally also planned not to seek reelection, but has said he changed his mind when he realized no one else was running.
That means, as it stands, that there will be four empty seats on council starting in January.
Sonnik, who has lived in North Irwin for eight years, is concerned about the vacancies.
“It's sad. I feel I need to represent the borough in a positive manner,” she said.
After six years on council, Macalus said she wants to let others get involved.
She said she always thought it was her civic duty to serve on council and feels disheartened others don't choose to serve as well.
“It's a sad state of affairs,” Macalus said. “I hope that some people will come out there and throw their name in the ring for the right reasons.”
Without council's dedication, several projects such as flooding initiative on Fourth Street or paving projects, would fall to the wayside, she said.
“Our streets are falling apart,” she said. “You need an aggressive council to get in there to possibly raise taxes or get some grants written.”
North Irwin council meets at 7 p.m. the second Monday of each month at the North Irwin Town Hall on Second Street.
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Norwin officials aim to plug high school leaks
- Iconic Irwin clock tower receiving face-lift
- North Huntingdon officials settle on blue, gold for logo
- Norwin board considers golf practice facility