Share This Page

Ballot rivals for Westmoreland prothonotary differ on style

| Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Mike Powers
Christina O’Brien, prothonotary of Westmoreland County

The race for Westmoreland County prothonotary is more about management style than office issues, according to the candidates.

First-term incumbent Democrat Christina O'Brien said her stewardship of the office and her experience qualify her for another four years at the helm of the county department that oversees civil and domestic court filings.

“I've worked hard for the last four years to improve the prothonotary's office,” O'Brien said.

Republican challenger Mike Powers said an infusion of new blood is needed to revamp the office and strip it of its layers of management.

“I'm a normal guy who is fed up with government officials accepting so much and doing so little,” Powers said.

O'Brien, who previously served as an elected jury commissioner, touted her efforts during her time as prothonotary. She said her office expanded its passport services and now issues about 400 a year compared to about 40 when she took office in 2009.

O'Brien, 46, of Mt. Pleasant Township said the office recently completed a project to upload a century's worth of naturalization records online and soon will launch a project to allow attorneys to file court documents online.

That system, which may be installed next year, ultimately could save taxpayers about $150,000 a year, she said.

“I've worked really hard to improve the office. I always keep taxpayers in mind and take the job seriously,” O'Brien said. “I have 25 years of office experience, and my opponent only has a year.”

Powers, 25, of Hempfield is seeking his first public office. He works as a supervisor for United Parcel Service and previously worked as executive director of the county's Republican Committee.

He said many of the initiatives O'Brien instituted in the office earlier this year, such as expanding office hours one day a week, were ideas he raised first in the run-up to the spring primary.

Powers said he would trim the office's management team and not hire a deputy. Powers said he would decline to take a county pension if he is elected.

“I haven't held an office, but I'm not corrupted by politics. I want to save taxpayers money,” Powers said.

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

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.