Baker to begin county commissioner appointment in January
The Indiana County Commissioners' Dec. 18 meeting was an emotional one for Commissioner David Frick, who will retire at the end of the year. His replacement on the board, formally appointed a few days prior to the meeting by Indiana County President Judge William Martin, will be outgoing county coroner Michael Baker.
Frick said the advice he could give Baker would be limited, as his entire time as a commissioner was spent attempting to learn as much as he could from the experience.
“Over 10 years, I've gone to meeting after meeting after meeting, so the bottom line to that is that it has been a massive learning experience,” Frick said. “You just learn and learn and learn in preparation for the day when you may be called upon to make decisions. It takes going to meetings year after year to have that experience. He's going to have to learn a lot of those things on his own, just like I did ....
“I've just learned so much, lots of which I didn't need to know because the boards were so good and so efficient that they made the decisions. Had it come to me, I was knowledgeable enough to have something valuable to lend to the decisions.”
Baker beat out 12 other candidates to earn the Republican Party's recommendation to fill out the remaining two years of Frick's term. “The committee is very pleased with the judge's decision,” said Jesse Daniel, Indiana County Republican Committee chairman. “Mike Baker is a dedicated public servant ready to add to an already outstanding team of county commissioners.”
Baker served as the county's coroner for eight years after 22 years as its chief deputy coroner. He accepted a job in April as operations manager for the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office in Pittsburgh and withdrew from the November election ballot for coroner after running unopposed and winning the primary.
Former chief deputy coroner Jerry Overman, Jr. was elected to replace Baker as coroner in November's polling.
Baker will join commissioners Rodney Ruddock, a fellow Republican, and Patricia Evanko, a Democrat, starting Jan. 1, and the commissioners don't foresee any major hurdles during the transition.
“After working with somebody as long as we've worked with Dave, we've been used to each other. It's a nice routine that we have, and we work well together. I really think that's going to carry over to Mike because Mike's a familiar face. He's been around the courthouse a long time,” Evanko said. “I've been at the courthouse for 24 years and Mike's been there as a deputy coroner for 22 and then as an elected official as a coroner.
“I know Mike, he's a great guy, he's a dedicated coroner, and I think he'll bring that same thing to the commissioners' office. I think it's going to be a good working relationship for all three of us together. Certainly Dave will be missed because he was a vital part of our commissioner team.”
Frick said Baker's familiarity with holding a public office and working with the commissioners will serve him well as he begins his new appointment.
“That's the advantage he has coming in,” Frick said of Baker's experience. “I came in with none of that, so Mike is coming in with an advantage that should stand him in good stead.... I think my fellow commissioners are grateful for the experience that he brings.”
Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or g email@example.com.
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.
- Police charge Indiana County man with killing pet cat
- Baby girl dies when run over by pickup truck in Indiana County
- Fire erupts at lumber yard near Indiana
- Variety of habitats provides plenty of viewing opportunities for local birders
- Increase in state funding still below local schools’ expectations
- Path mapped out to boost Saltsburg trail tourism
- Former Saltsburg Elementary School eyed for disaster preparedness site
- St. Andrew’s Village campus is getting household makeover
- Infant suffers head injuries in Indiana County crash