TribLIVE

| News


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

Longtime Westmoreland County political figure Blissman challenges Clerk of Courts Kline

Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts

Four-year term. 2013 salary: $65,414

Dan Blissman

Party: Democratic

Age: 64

Hometown: Hempfield

Family: Married, one grown child; one grandchild

Education: Degree, Culinary Institute of America

Occupation: Westmoreland County jury commissioner

Bryan Kline

Party: Republican

Age: 32

Hometown: Penn Township

Family: Married, one child

Education: Master's degree in law and public policy from California University of Pennsylvania; bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Lock Haven University

Occupation: Westmoreland County clerk of courts

Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Four years ago, Democrats held every row office seat in Westmoreland County, as well as a majority on the county's Board of Commissioners.

Then Republican Bryan Kline, an unknown political novice from Penn Township, won a surprise victory over a long-term Democratic incumbent clerk of courts.

Republicans seeking courthouse offices haven't lost since.

Next month, Kline, 32, is seeking his second four-year term in a run for the office that oversees all criminal court records. He will take on Democrat Dan Blissman, who for the last four years has served as one of two elected jury commissioners.

Kline said he wants to continue programs he implemented to improve collections of court costs, fines and restitution to victims.

“We're working hard, fighting for hard-working taxpayers and defending the rights of crime victims. My feeling is I'm the only qualified candidate in this race,” Kline said.

When he took office, the clerk of courts collected $4.5 million annually from criminal defendants. Last year, the office collected $5.4 million. This year, the office is on pace to top $6 million, he said.

Kline, who previously worked as a social services caseworker, said that under his watch, the office instituted new collection procedures, convened monthly administrative hearings for defendants who are in arrears and instituted a program to collect money from inmates in the Westmoreland County Prison.

Improving collections will remain a goal of the office, he said.

“Taxpayers front the money to run the court system, and it needs to be recouped. The victims also need to be whole again,” Kline said.

Blissman, 64, of Hempfield has been around Westmoreland County political circles for years and served as a director on the Democratic Committee.

He is finishing a four-year stint on the county's jury commission, an elected position that will be eliminated after this year.

Blissman, a Navy veteran who served in Vietnam and has worked as culinary instructor in Connellsville Area High School, said his political experience should win him favor among voters.

“I enjoy serving the public, and I think I can do a better job,” he said.

Blissman said he wants to cut the clerk's budget, improve restitution collections and extend the hours the office operates.

“I am a no-frills man. There will be cuts, maybe staffing. I will try to recover as much as we can for the victims of crimes by whatever means I can do it,” Blissman said.

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

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Westmoreland

  1. Bushy Run Battlefield upgrades to include trail, signs, landscaping
  2. Greensburg police captain to attend highly selective academy
  3. Youngwood Fire Department to dedicate memorial at station
  4. Historic Greensburg Art Center joins Cat’s Meow collection
  5. Families welcome new members on Adoption Day in Westmoreland County
  6. Police on hunt for suspects in unrelated Penn Township, Manor cases
  7. Fall fly-by: Blue Angels stop in Unity to discuss 2015 show
  8. Jeannette man pleads guilty to attempting to entice child in Louisiana
  9. Food drive volunteer in Westmoreland County has purse stolen
  10. 7 arrested in Latrobe-area drug dealing
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.