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Three vying for Aspinwall mayor's appointment

Tawnya Panizzi
| Thursday, March 8, 2018, 3:06 p.m.
Aspinwall Council meetings have drawn large crowds over the past year as issues such as riverfront development and police staffing are debated. Council on March 14 is expected to appoint a new mayor.
Jeffrey Savitskie | Tribune-Review
Aspinwall Council meetings have drawn large crowds over the past year as issues such as riverfront development and police staffing are debated. Council on March 14 is expected to appoint a new mayor.

This time next week, Aspinwall will have a new mayor.

Council on Wednesday night interviewed three candidates for the position — Jeff Harris, Joe Noro and Joe Warren.

The three men are vying for the seat left vacant after Ted Sheerer won an unopposed campaign in November but then learned he was unable to accept the job because it would violate his employer's policy.

Council is expected to appoint someone at its meeting at 7 p.m. March 14.

The position runs through December 2019 at which point there will be an election for the remaining two years.

Prior to an executive session where council interviewed the candidates privately, the applicants were given a chance to speak to the audience. Warren is out of town but submitted a letter read to the public.

“I welcome the opportunity to serve,” said Warren, who was previously appointed to council in 2011 and then elected to a four-year term from 2012-16.

He detailed volunteerism in the community, including spearheading a campaign to rename the borough's ball field after the late Mayor Ben Killian. He is a founding member of the Aspinwall Neighborhood Watch and worked with finance and personnel committees during his time in local government.

Harris, a 10-year resident, told the audience he has served as president of the youth baseball association and volunteers on the shade tree commission.

“No one can dispute the charms of our town,” he said. “We need to hit the reset button and start over, be positive and respectfully bring the best ideas to the table.”

Harris said the town needs to focus on more than a single issue, as has been the case over the past year with Riverfront 47 development and then the resignation of Police Chief David Caplan.

“There are several elements that we need to talk about, including a new chief and police regionalization, to realize our full potential,” he said.

Noro, longtime council member who was narrowly defeated in November for re-election, said if appointed that his focus would be on the police department.

“It needs a good manager and that's what I've been my whole career,” he said.

Noro said he would support the promotion of Acting Chief Dave Nemec to Chief, and, he would focus on the problem of vehicles speeding through town.

“We need community input to accomplish these things,” he said.

Several members of the audience spoke in favor of each applicant and resident Mike Troyan suggested that the appointee should be a homeowner.

“They make decisions about my money,” he said.

Council president Tim McLaughlin reminded the audience that, “We opened the process to make it transparent but ultimately, the decision is up to us.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, tpanizzi@tribweb.com or @tawnyatrib.

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