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Gastgeb resigns from Allegheny County Council

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 7:48 p.m.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Vince Gastgeb, the Airport Authority’s director of corporate communications and government relations, held jobs at Sara Lee Foods, Acosta Sales and the state Department of Banking and Securities, according to his financial disclosure form. Gastgeb said he no longer works at Sara Lee and Acosta.

Allegheny County Councilman Vince Gastgeb resigned on Tuesday night amid questions about whether he should remain in the elected position after accepting a job with the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Gastgeb, 49, was hired last week for the newly created post of director of corporate and community relations, a $113,500-a-year job. Gastgeb, a former sales manager for Sara Lee Foods, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 19.

As a member of County Council, Gastgeb was paid $9,000 a year. He makes $27,131 a year as a member of the state Securities and Exchange Commission.

Questions about whether Gastgeb, who has served on council since its formation in 1999, could continue as the District 5 representative while working for the Airport Authority have been raised since his hiring was announced.

The county Home Rule Charter bars council members from receiving a salary from “county authorities.”

But Gastgeb argued, based on an opinion from County Council solicitor Jack Cambest, that the Airport Authority is a state authority because state law enabled its creation.

“Initially, I thought it would complement both positions,” he said on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Bethel Park Republican said he resigned to erase any questions about whether his new job would be in conflict with his elected position.

“While staying on council has been ruled as legal by our County Council solicitor, the appearance could exist for unintended conflicts that could arise with being a pubic official,” he said at the council meeting.

“I thought it best to exercise an abundance of caution to remove any such appearance, no matter how small. I feel this decision is best for everyone and is the right thing to do and for the right reasons.”

Staff writer Mike Wereschagin contributed to this report. Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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