Braddock council postpones vote to appoint interim mayor
Following a heated public comment period, Braddock Council voted Tuesday to delay the scheduled appointment of an interim mayor.
“There was so much controversy from the residents, I couldn’t see us in good conscience going through with the process,” Councilman Robert Clanagan, who made the initial motion to postpone the vote, said following the meeting.
Residents questioned the application process and whether candidates were qualified to fill the position of mayor.
Council unanimously voted to accept the resignation of outgoing Mayor John Fetterman, who will be sworn in as lieutenant governor next week.
Fetterman did not attend the council meeting Tuesday.
The six-member council now has 30 days to appoint an interim mayor, borough Solicitor Pete Halesey said following the meeting.
Prior to voting to accept Fetterman’s resignation, council was not obligated to initiate a process to replace the mayor, he said.
There is no set process for appointing a new mayor, he added.
If council does not appoint a replacement within 30 days, a vacancy board comprised of the six council members plus a seventh individual will have 15 days to appoint a replacement, Halesey said.
If the vacancy board does not come up with a replacement, the appointment will be made by Allegheny County Court, Halesey said.
Whoever eventually is appointed would have to run for election this year to keep the seat.
Council had planned to vote Tuesday between candidates Isaac Bunn and Pedro Valles. Some residents questioned Bunn’s residency qualifications, saying he is registered to vote in nearby North Braddock.
Bunn, 49, is a 1988 graduate of Woodland Hills High School with certificates in cooking, restaurant and business management from Forbes Road East Career and Technical School in Monroeville, he told the Tribune-Review in December.
He has worked in corporate financial, food service and management fields for about 30 years and runs the Braddock-based nonprofit Braddock Inclusion Project, which was founded in 2015 to improve the quality of life, health and economic conditions for residents of the borough, he said.
Valles, 53, moved to the Pittsburgh area in 1995 and has since settled in Braddock, he told the Tribune-Review in December. He’s an officer with the Rankin Police Department and is assigned as a school resource officer at the Rankin Promise School in the Woodland Hills School District.
He previously served as a police officer in Braddock and was elected constable for Braddock’s second ward. Some residents questioned Tuesday whether Valles could legally serve as both a state constable and mayor at the same time.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, email@example.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.