Shaler commissioner primary race heating up
Shaler commissioner candidates are facing off in the May 21 primary election, with contested races only in Wards 1 and 7. Voters in each ward will cast one vote.
Wayne Skelley, a board member since 2016, is battling newcomer Frank Iozzo for a four-year term in Ward 1. Both are Democrats.
Skelley, who serves as public works committee chairman, will make infrastructure his top priority if re-elected.
“Infrastructure is the key to help us down the road to make sure we don’t spend too much money, but plenty of people don’t do that. We are on top of that with our public works commitment and scheduling,” he said.
“The township is in a great position financially and leadership-wise. It’s been a great three-and-a-half years so far,” Skelley, 68, said of his time on the board.
The Shaler native has decided to run for re-election due to his passion for politics and his desire to “take care of his fellow residents.”
Iozzo’s interactions with community members during his 19 years in Shaler have inspired his campaign.
“I’m running just to stay on top of different issues in our community,” the Tudi Mechanical Systems HVAC technician said. “I’m very customer service-oriented. I’m a residential technician; I deal daily with customers. I’m a follow up, follow through-type of guy, and I want to continue to do this in that area (politics).”
If elected, he wants to maintain or lower the township’s taxes by reviewing the budget.
In the 1970s, Iozzo, now 63, served two terms on the City of Pittsburgh’s Democratic Committee.
In Ward 7, longtime board Vice President Bill Cross is up against Heather Perman for a four-year term. Cross agrees with Skelley that the board is working to improve the township’s infrastructure and attract families to Shaler.
“I’m just going to continue doing the things that I’ve been doing,” Cross, 54, said, regarding a possible re-election. “I’m a strong believer, supporter, of public safety in Shaler township and also we’ve been working to develop additional recreational activities to help draw in families to Shaler. We had the rebuild of Fall Run Park, and now we’re adding a bunch of the movies in the parks and other things that the residents are looking for, and now we’re just going to continue down that path.”
Since joining the board in 1996, he considers his partnerships with the local public safety departments a highlight, as well as working with the board to implement new hiring practices for township employees.
Cross, a Republican, is interested in continuing to serve as a commissioner because he believes in giving back to one’s community.
Republican Heather Perman, 50, is running because she thinks that she is qualified for the commissioners’ role, is already active in the community and has previously considered running for office.
She would like to ensure that Shaler’s public safety personnel have adequate tools to respond to emergencies and to revitalize the Route 8 corridor. She would like to “bring more businesses into Shaler, so we can potentially see if we can lower taxes if it’s possible. And I would like to continue doing what I do, work closely with the schools and nonprofits to help our children and our seniors in our area.”
Her previous government experience includes stints as a Washington, D.C.-based, auditor for the Department of Defense’s Inspector General and a job as an account specialist for government defense contractor Logicon Inc.
In Ward 2, Republican David Mizgorski is running uncontested for a two-year term to finish out the one he accepted when his wife, Lori, resigned to accept a position as state representative. Republicans David Shutter and Susan Fisher are running unopposed in Wards 3 and 5, respectively, for four-year terms.