TribLIVE

| News

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Unanimous vote completes shuffling of Westmoreland municipal authority board

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County board members hired a new lawyer on Wednesday, completing a shake-up of the utility's administration.

Jeannette attorney Scott Avolio was the unanimous pick of the board to replace solicitor Ken Burkley, who was fired Wednesday after serving more than 11 years for the authority.

Avolio, who has a private law practice and works as the solicitor for the city of Jeannette, was one of six lawyers interviewed Wednesday for the position.

“It is a very successful organization and I look forward to working with it. I'm honored to be selected,” Avolio said.

Avolio will earn $120,000 a year in his new job with the authority. He is expected to receive an additional wage for work on the authority's $140 million bond issue for capital improvements, which is expected to be completed later this year.

Authority boardChairman Randy Roadman said Avolio, along with most of the other solicitor candidates, were recommended by Republican county Commissioners Charles Anderson and Tyler Courtney.

Anderson and Courtney have reshaped the authority since they assumed the majority on the board of commissioners last year.

Roadman said Avolio's political connections did not factor into his hiring. Avolio serves as the vice chairman for the county's GOP committee.

“His experience in municipal work made him stand out,” Roadman said.

Burkley is a former chairman of the county's Democratic committee and supported Democratic candidates against Anderson and Courtney.

Avolio said he would continue to work as Jeannette's solicitor, but will discontinue his campaign for Common Pleas Court judge in Westmoreland County.

Also on Wednesday, the authority board approved an extension to a contract with a gas well drilling company that officials said could generate nearly $20 million in new revenue for the utility over the next seven years.

The deal with Triana Energy will enable the company to drill up to nine wells on 1,600 acres of authority land in Springfield Township, Fayette County.

Marathon Oil in 2008 paid the authority $6.2 million to drill on that property, but to date only two deep wells have been completed. Neither are producing gas, according to authority manager Chris Kerr.

Marathon is pulling its operations off the authority's land and Triana is expected take over the drilling operations, Kerr said.

The lease extension will give the company the right to continue drilling up to nine wells through 2020. The authority will receive royalties on the gas produced at that location.

“I think it's a very good deal for the authority,” Kerr said.

Marcellus shale deep wells are currently being drilled on authority property at Beaver Run Reservoir in the northern end of Westmoreland County.

Those wells produced more than $2 million in revenue for the authority last year.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Police: Greensburg man had heroin, stolen gun
  2. Red Onion reunion possibly the last for Hempfield coal mining village
  3. Heroin suspect out of Westmoreland County jail on $100K bond
  4. Judge denies former New Alexandria tree trimmer another chance
  5. Monessen home invasion ‘ringleader’ denied leniency
  6. Ligonier Valley YMCA project in public phase
  7. Gas meter struck, road temporarily closed near Armbrust Wesleyan Church
  8. Derry man gets 19-year prison sentence for recording sex assaults of girl
  9. Girl, 10, forced to strip in Sewickley Township home invasion
  10. Southmoreland School director named
  11. Hempfield murderer serving life sentence promises restitution when he’s released