Kittanning council race a mixed bag
The Kittanning Borough Council election race resulted in an incumbent loss, a gain for a newcomer and a possible decision for council in January, and there was a shake-up in the Ford City Council race.
A close race pushed Republican David Croyle in the lead with 56.19 percent over Democrat Betsy Wilt's 43.81 percent for the four-year term, according to the unofficial count.
Out of a total of 105 votes, Croyle garnered 59 votes and Wilt collected 46.
However, Wilt is slightly ahead of Croyle for the two-year term, with only three votes standing between them.
Preliminary results show Wilt leading by 50.98 percent to Croyle's 48.04 percent.
Of the 102 total votes cast, Wilt received 52 and Croyle received 49. There was one write-in vote.
Wilt said her slim chance at a two-year term could be affected by absentee ballots once they come in.
“I might be ousted because it's pretty close,” she said.
She noted that if the official count pushes Croyle ahead and the votes land him a win in both terms, he will have to choose which term he will serve.
“That means there could be a big change Jan. 1,” she said, adding that the two-year term might become a vacancy.
If that happens, council would have to nominate and appoint someone to fill the position, she said.
But, she said, until the official count is in “we'll wait and go from there.”
Croyle could not be reached for comment.
Republican incumbent and current Kittanning Borough Council President Christopher R. Schiano lost his seat to former Council Vice President Randy Cloak, who ran on the Democratic ticket.
Cloak won 58.50 percent over Schiano's 41.50 percent, according to the unofficial tally.
Of the 147 total votes, 86 were cast for Cloak with 61 for Schiano.
Republican Angelo Turco, who ran unopposed collected 242 votes out of a total 255 votes. There were 13 write-in votes.
Republican Andy Peters, who also ran unopposed, garnered 148 votes out of a total 155 votes. There were seven write-in votes.
Voters in Ford City's second ward put three new faces onto borough council during Tuesday's election.
According to unofficial election results, Independent Kathy Bartuccio was the top vote-getter, earning 277 votes, followed by Democrat Joshua Abernathy, who received 231 votes. Republican Scott Gaiser earned the third council seat after he received 229 votes.
Incumbent Democrat Lou Vergari, 68, received 96 votes, which was not enough to secure another term on the board.
Republican incumbents Paul Harmon, 55, and Robert Mohney, 54, whose terms expire on Jan. 1, did not seeking re-election.
Bartuccio, 55, who is a member of the Ford City Library Board, said council needs to get together and put their differences aside, so the borough can move forward in a positive manner.
“We really need to work together, because they're not accomplishing anything by fighting with each other all the time,” Bartuccio said. “We need to work together to be successful and bring more business and industry into Ford City.”
Abernathy, 34, a former Ford City police officer who has never held an elected position, said he would like to begin developing a long-term comprehensive plan for the borough when his term begins.
He hopes to have it reviewed and voted on by the public as a referendum in an upcoming election, Abernathy said.
“The people have spoken, and they want a change,” Abernathy said. “There is a lot of baggage in this borough to take care of, and the best way is to put together a plan and let the people vote.”
Gaiser, 47, who is the chief of the Ford City Fire Department, was unavailable for comments.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.