Election finishes GOP takeover of Westmoreland authority
A shakeup at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County Thursday resulted in the appointment of a new chairman, and a new solicitor is expected to be hired next week.
Board members unanimously elected Hempfield businessman Randy Roadman as the authority's chairman. Roadman was seated on the board last January.
His election completes a Republican takeover on the authority board, which gained a majority Thursday when county commissioners appointed Ligonier Valley School Board President Bruce Robinson as the fifth member of the utility's board of directors.
“I have big shoes to fill, and I hope as a board we can work together,” Roadman said.
The chairman's job carries a $45,000 annual salary, but Roadman said he will forgo the pay. Jerome DeFabo, who served as chairman the last several years, also declined to take the salary.
Roadman's election comes at a time when the authority is in the midst of substantial change. The board last year approved a $140 million capital improvement program and instituted a 25 percent rate hike that will go into effect next month.
The board will hire a solicitor at a special meeting on Jan. 16. Roadman said Ken Burkley, the authority's lawyer since 2002, will not be retained.
“We just want to go in a different direction,” Roadman said.
Board members will interview four candidates, all lawyers with ties to the county's Republican Party committee. Those who will be interviewed are Scott Avolio, who serves as vice chairman of the GOP committee; Harry Smail, the party's solicitor; and attorneys Robert King and Brad Mellor, according to Roadman.
“This is by invitation only,” said Roadman, who noted that Burkley will officially be fired next week.
The authority will pay its solicitor $120,000 a year.
Burkley said his termination is political. He helped to spearhead the 2011 campaign of Democratic candidates for county commissioner.
Roadman and board member Keith Staso failed in an attempt to fire Burkley last year, just two months after Republicans gained control of the county's board of commissioners.
“I am studying my options. No doubt this is political retaliation,” Burkley said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Defense can see, not copy tape, Westmoreland County judge rules
- Belle Vernon girls showed signs of being abused, doctor testifies
- St. Michael’s volunteers cook up festival delights
- Derry Area board plans vote on device use policy
- Trio holds up Penn couple at gunpoint in home
- Reputed leader of motorcycle gang returned to Pa. to face charges
- Videotaping suspect from Greensburg doesn’t show at hearing
- Greater Latrobe-Laurel Valley Community Chamber of Commerce to honor Arnie’s pal ‘Doc’
- 2 escape injury when plane slides into Westmoreland County airport
- Hempfield approves prison site subdivision
- Yukon kennel founder jailed for allegedly threatening workers