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GOP eyes successor for Gastgeb's Allegheny County Council seat

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 11:44 p.m.

Republicans on Allegheny County Council expect to seat a replacement for Vince Gastgeb in a little less than a month.

It will be the first time someone other than Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, has held the District 5 seat since council was created in 2000. Gastgeb resigned this week amid questions over whether the home rule charter barred him from keeping his seat while taking a job with the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

Gastgeb maintained he could, but he resigned anyway.

Councilwoman Jan Rea, who took over as Republican caucus chairwoman for Gastgeb, will nominate someone for the seat. The full council will then vote on the appointment, most likely at its March 5 meeting, said Jared Barker, council's legislative director.

Gastgeb's replacement must come from the same party, Barker said.

Republicans interested in the seat can send a letter to Barker in Room 119 of the Allegheny County Courthouse by Feb. 25.

The appointee must be a registered voter and resident of the district for at least a year. The district includes Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Mt. Lebanon and Upper St. Clair.

The appointee will serve until November, when voters will pick someone to fill the remaining two years of Gastgeb's term, Barker said.

Candidates will be interviewed by Rea, R-McCandless, and at-large Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon, Rea said.

“We would be happy to entertain anybody who is interested in taking it and hopefully, running,” Rea said.

The county pays members of the part-time council $9,000 a year.

Gastgeb won his seat in 1999 in the first election under the home rule charter. He took a job as director of corporate and community relations at the Airport Authority, which starts next Friday.

The home rule charter says council members cannot receive a paycheck from a county agency or authority, a provision that was included to maintain the body's independence as a citizen legislature, said Jim Turner, who oversaw the charter's drafting as managing director of the Pennsylvania Economy League.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-320-7900or mwereschagin@tribweb.com

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