Supervisor nominations at stake in 5 Fayette townships
Voters in each of these Fayette County townships will find a single nomination for supervisor at stake in the May 20 primary election. Supervisors serve six-year terms.
Here is a look at the candidates and some local issues.
Incumbent Charles Robert Butler, 52, faces opposition from a pair of Democratic challengers as he seeks the party's nomination for a third term as supervisor.
A township employee for 32 years, Butler is a Democratic committeeman and a member of Pennsville Baptist Church. A graduate of Connellsville Area High School, he is married and has three children and four grandchildren.
"If I'm re-elected, I will operate the township without increasing taxes," Butler said. "I'll continue our waterlines to the people who need it in the township. I'll continue going after all the grant money that we are eligible for."
During the last six years Bullskin received about $3.3 million in grants, he said, with about $2.5 million of that total devoted to the township's sewer project. Other money went toward a ball field.
"I'll continue to work closely with the Bullskin Township firemen and the township ambulance services," Butler added. He pledged to keep the township's road in good condition, to upgrade equipment as needed, to help senior citizens and to build another playing field at Jacob's Creek Ball Park.
"I'll continue working closely with the other two supervisors in all situations, to make our township a better place to live and ... to be a full-time, working supervisor," he said.
Challenger Jerry Snyder, 41, works in construction management for Mid-Atlantic Unified Health Systems.
He is a past president of the Bullskin Volunteer Fire Co. and a member of Paradise United Methodist Church.
A Connellsville Area grad, Snyder is married and has three children.
"I used to work for the township, for approximately five years," he said. "Since then, I've gained quite a bit of experience in construction and business.
"The direction the township now needs is business management, someone who can get grants and operate the township day to day," he said. "I'm willing to commit to a full day's work for a full day's pay."
Another Democratic candidate, Walter "Deb" Wiltrout, 56, works at Adelphoi Village diagnostic center. A member of the Pleasant Valley Water Authority for six years, he has a business degree from Westmoreland County Community College.
Wiltrout said he spent more than 26 years building roads with the Army Reserve. He is a member of the Bullskin Lions Club and the Bullskin Historical Society, and has been involved with Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. Wiltrout is married, with 10 children and four grandchildren.
"With my business degree, I have the experience and education to work on the business end of things," he said. "I have the experience to work on the roads.
"If elected, I plan to be a full-time supervisor," he said. "I would like to pursue waterlines into the areas that do not have water and work with our local legislators to lower -- if not do away with -- property taxes. And I do support all the Little Leagues and all the community groups that are organized for kids in our area.
"If you are elected to an office, you should be ... concerned with the needs of the people. I'll keep that first and foremost."
Four Democratic candidates are vying for a seat on Dunbar Township's board of supervisors, including 10-year supervisor Ronald Keller, 43.
"I'm a working supervisor, experienced with all township equipment operation, which allows me to fully participate in all day-to-day running of the township," Keller said. "I work together well with the other two supervisors and I would like to continue working with them.
"It's tough to promise things," he added. "Day-to-day operations are the challenge. ... We've had two sewage projects since I've been here, with more than $4 million in grants. Even though the price of the sewage (project) is high, you have to pay to put those lines in."
In addition to the sewer line, Keller said, supervisors "repaved Duck Pond Road and are paving the entire village of Leisenring, both from Community Development Block Grants."
Keller, who graduated from Connellsville Area High, is married and has two children.
Challenger Don Fetsco, 55, also is concerned about the sewer project and township roadways.
"I've lived here over 40 years," he said. "I know what some of the problems are. Mostly, everyone's minds are on the sewage problems. I know they borrowed so many millions to put the sewage (lines) in, and they have to make their payments. After they get their bills down, they should lower the price."
Supervisors should do more with the roads, he added.
"If we do get the sewage (project) completed, we might get a factory or something in the township. I would like to see something developed at the mall to get some jobs for some of the people here."
Fetsco, who works for Crown Cork and Seal, graduated from Dunbar Township High School. A Slovak Club member, he is married and has two children.
Candidate John Tabaj, 58, said he entered the race to represent his fellow residents.
"I feel the people's thoughts have been overlooked for very long in Dunbar Township," he said. "I'm in it for the people. I have an occupation. We're a five-generation dairy farm."
Tabaj graduated from Dunbar Township High School. He was president of the Farmers Union and belongs to the Slovak Club, the Eagles and the Juniata Sportsmen's Club. Tabaj is married, with five children and eight grandchildren.
Challenger Jerry Tomko, 47, said he is concerned about the township's future.
"I deal with many people in Dunbar Township on a near-daily basis, where I speak with and listen to residents about their concerns," he said. "I refuse to offer idle promises to anyone, but I do guarantee that I will do my best to work with ... our current supervisors, and our county and state officials, to keep up and upgrade local community service and to improve and secure the future economic development in Dunbar Township."
He urged voters to become involved with local issues. "You need to speak and be heard," he said.
Tomko, who works at Action Oil, earned an associate's degree from The Computer Systems Institute in Pittsburgh. He is a member of St. Vincent DePaul Roman Catholic Church, Juniata Sportsmen's Club and the Independent Slovak Citizens' Club.
Tomko is married and has two sons.
Republican Joe Ross is unopposed for the GOP nomination for supervisor.
NORTH UNION TOWNSHIP
Five local businessmen are seeking the Democratic nomination for supervisor in North Union Township.
Carmen Galderisi III, 50, of Lemont Furnace, is a self-employed carpet installer. He graduated from Laurel Highlands High School, attended Penn State and served in the Air Force from 1970 to 1974, including time in Vietnam.
"I am a candidate for the people," he said. "Being self-employed, I have been a public servant all my life. I want to continue helping the people of this community.
"My platform is recreation for our youth," he added. "Children are our future and they need areas in which they can gather and have social activities."
Property taxes in the township have held steady for more than four decades, Galderisi said, and he pledged to keep the tax rate low by making wise investments.
A member of the Sons of Italy, VFW Post 47 and St. Theresa Roman Catholic Church in Uniontown, Galderisi is married and has four children.
Curtis Matthews Sr., 47, of Lemont Furnace, is self-employed in masonry construction. A single man, he graduated from Laurel Highlands High.
"Today it takes experience, knowledge and commitment to run local government to ensure that the people get the services they pay for and deserve," he said. "I know the problems North Union faces and I pledge to work with ... the voters and taxpayers for solutions.
"Together, we can make our township a better place to live and work."
Frank A. Mutnansky, 48, of Phillips, raises beef cattle and worked at Crown Cork and Seal for 29 years. He graduated from Laurel Highlands High and the Fayette Area Vocational-Technical School, where he studied masonry.
"I will continue ... to improve the community by working with local and state government, (and will) continue the low tax rate, good services and economy of government," he said. "If elected, I'm looking forward to working with the other supervisors to erect a recreation center for our youth."
Mutnansky is president of Fayette County Cattlemen's Association and treasurer of the Fayette County Farmers Union. He belongs to the Valley Sportsmen's Club and Knights of Columbus. Mutnansky is married, and has a child.
Jack Nicklow, 53, of West Leisenring, is a self-employed inspection mechanic. A graduate of North Union High School and the Fayette Technical Institute, he served in the Marine Corps from 1966 to 1969 and has been township auditor for 13 years.
"I feel that I am the most qualified candidate for the job," he said. "I've been an elected official for 13 years, I know the business end of the township (and) I have a (commercial driver's) license
"My main goal is to see if we can't get a recreation center and get sewage (lines) completed," Nicklow added.
He also would like to complete a project, mandated by the federal Clean Water Act, that separates storm water and sanitary sewers. In addition, "we need to update code enforcement laws to deal with abandoned vehicles and rundown houses."
Nicklow belongs to the Hutchinson Sportsmen's Club, West Leisenring Fire Department social hall and North Union VFD, and has coached baseball and other sports for 24 years. He is married and has three children.
Brian Quarrick, 38, of North Union, owns Quarrick Lawn & Garden.
"I am the most qualified candidate," he said, noting he has a commercial driver's license and hazardous materials training.
"I am running for supervisor in hopes of bringing our community up to date," Quarrick said. "I want to do what I can to help the businesses we have stay here and bring new ones in. I would like to see our community grow.
"I want to help get our children off the streets and on the right path in life," he added. "North Union Township is our home, our community and our children's future."
Quarrick leads the Fayette County 4-H Tractor Club and serves as volunteer auctioneer for the annual 4-H Livestock Auction. He is married and has two children.
Three candidates with construction experience, one of them a woman, are making a bid for the Democratic nomination for supervisor in Saltlick Township.
Nedra J. Alward, 51, of Champion, works as a heavy highway bridge crew laborer in Local 1058, Labor Union International. A graduate of Hyndman High School, she is married, with a son and two grandchildren.
"I've lived here for 25 years and there's never been a woman running there, never," she said. "I was also one of the first women in the union.
"There's a lot that needs to be done in this town," Alward added. "I have years of experience of bridge and road work. The roads need work, and that depends on the money they get. I'll do my best."
Ed Bucovac Jr., of White, works in construction and has more than 20 years of truck driving experience. A graduate of Connellsville Area High, he is married and belongs to the Indian Creek Valley Sportsmen's Club.
"I have more than 20 years of truck driving experience and can operate heavy equipment," he said. "There's a lot that needs to be done in the township and I'm willing to work to make it better."
David Cramer, 41, of Melcroft, has experience in operating construction equipment and in business management. A lifelong township resident, he graduated from Mt. Zion Christian Academy.
"I feel I can benefit the community in many ways by being a full-time supervisor who will listen to the residents' comments and concerns," he said. "I understand the necessity of road maintenance and general upkeep of our township. I will put forth my best effort if elected."
Republican Steve Nietfeld, 47, of Melcroft, is the only candidate on the Republican ballot.
Two Democratic challengers are hoping to upset a supervisor's re-election bid in Springfield Township.
Ken Johnson, 54, of Mill Run, is a former township laborer who is finishing his first term as supervisor. A member of the township's volunteer fire department, he attended South Union High School. Johnson is married, with two children and three grandchildren.
"I am committed to the growth and improvement of Springfield Township," he said. "I appreciate (voters') support in this year's election, in helping me fulfill another term."
Candidate Bill Striner, 50, of Normalville, previously worked for the township and served one term as supervisor six years ago. He does lawn care and janitorial work. A graduate of Connellsville Area High and a member of the Clinton Church of God, he is married and has three children.
"There are grants out there and I want to approach that and see what I can do," Striner said. "Plus, a lot of roadwork needs to be done, and I've got the experience for doing roadwork. I can operate all the equipment and have a (commercial driver's) license.
"I would like to add a spring cleanup day to clean the garbage around the township, the township building and township roads," he added.
Challenger Roy Ritenour could not be reached for comment.