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Bednar hired as interim Clairton city manager

| Friday, April 22, 2011

Clairton officials have tapped former West Mifflin borough manager Howard Bednar as interim city manager/finance director.

Bednar was appointed to the position by a 3-0 vote at Thursday afternoon`s special meeting. Councilman Craig Roberts and Mayor Rich Lattanzi were absent.

His salary was set at $75,000.

Clairton`s meeting agenda stated Bednar will receive benefits 'at this time,' along with personal days, vacation, health insurance, eye and dental, life insurance, and pension, which will be given after a year of employment.

Councilman Terry Julian struck that from the motion, stating council will decide on that at a later date.

Bednar worked as West Mifflin`s manager from May 1994 to January 2010, and as its finance officer from May 1994 through April 2007. He graduated from St. Frances College in 1975 with a degree in political science and a master`s of public administration from American University in 1980.

Bednar also worked as Green Tree`s borough manager from June 1990 through March 1994. He was Forest Hills` borough manager from October 1986 through May 1990, and its finance officer from April 1987 through January 1989.

Bednar will start at the interim position on Monday. He succeeds outgoing city manager/finance director Richard Cannone, who officially will end his employment by the today. The city offices are closed in observance of Good Friday.

Cannone is taking a job working on municipal contracts for an engineering firm in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He assisted Bednar with the transition this week.

'I think you`ve got a great city manager coming in here,' Cannone said.

Borough solicitor George Gobel said city officials have been working as a team while Cannone was employed by the city, and lauded his efforts

'It`s unfortunate that it was such a short period of time, but it`s been very productive and I think he set the standard moving forward,' Gobel said. 'I`m sure Mr. Bednar`s an experienced city manager, borough manager. He`ll pick up very quickly. It`s not going to be a real learning experience for him. He knows the players in the area. He knows how to get things done.'

Councilors echoed Gobel`s compliments of Cannone, who worked for Clairton for approximately five months. Cannone was named city manager and financial director at a special meeting Nov. 4. He was unanimously selected from a field of 24 candidates, one of whom was Bednar.

'When they advertised for the position late last year, I had submitted a resume and was interviewed,' Bednar said. 'Their decision was to hire Richard at that time. When Rich submitted his resignation, I was contacted to see if I was still available and interested. I said, ‘Most certainly.`

'I was looking for employment and I love municipal management. It`s a fascinating field, and I really enjoy it and was very happy when they called because I was still available, and the rest is history. Here we are.'

Bednar said he plans to continue the work that Cannone started.

'People have to have confidence,' Bednar said. 'We have our system in place. We can tell you where we are financially. They`ve got different projects in the park going on ... and just continue to work with the state.'

Cannone said Thursday that the city received a $40,000 grant through the state Department of Environmental Protection`s Safe Drinking Water Program via state Sen. James Brewster`s office, and the city received a $10,000 grant through the state Department of Community and Economic Development for park pavilion roof repairs.

In other business Thursday, council approved a $6,000 transfer of funds from a Leisure Park Building Maintenance account to a police account to help purchase a 2011 Ford Expedition SSV package police vehicle, and authorized the purchase from Day Ford for $35,985 through the Central Westmoreland Council of Governments cooperative purchasing program.

Approximately $20,000 will be reimbursed to the police account through the Equitable Sharing Program through the U.S. Department of Justice.

Councilors tabled a motion to promote Robert Pugar from part-time police officer to a full-time position. He is the last officer on the current police testing list from November 2009.

Councilors said they needed to have further discussion before making a decision.

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