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North Hills

Aufman, LeDonne feted for public service to McCandless

Tony LaRussa
| Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
McCandless Councilman William McKim (left) presents Councilman Gerard Aufman with a street sign bearing his name on Dec. 18, 2017. Town officials changed the name of Pump House Lane to Aufman Lane in honor of the councliman's 44 years of service.
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McCandless Councilman William McKim (left) presents Councilman Gerard Aufman with a street sign bearing his name on Dec. 18, 2017. Town officials changed the name of Pump House Lane to Aufman Lane in honor of the councliman's 44 years of service.

More than four decades serving as a councilman in McCandless has provided Gerard Aufman with plenty of reminders of the ways he has helped guide the town from a sleepy suburb to a thriving commercial and residential community.

But no reminder of his accomplishments will be more visible than the one announced at the last council meeting over which he presided — renaming Pump House Lane near the municipal building Aufman Lane.

The honor was bestowed on Aufman at the Dec. 18 meeting, where a proclamation was read outlining and praising his years on council. Aufman also was honored at the meeting with proclamations from the office of state Sen. Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, and Allegheny County Council.

“During my watch there were many challenges to be solved,” Aufman said. “And our elective body worked cooperatively to solve them. We had differences, but we put them aside to work for the citizens ... that's why we have made progress.”

Aufman, 84, noted that while he has “served to the best of my abilities for 44 years,” the credit for his accomplishments goes to his wife and family, town employees and colleagues on council “who have encouraged and supported me.”

Among the successes during his tenure Aufman noted was a 1995 ordinance requiring developers to install sidewalks in their projects, which was met with resistance because of the cost it would incur; the town's push for the county to install traffic signals in North Park; the addition of recreation facilities in the town; and improvements to stormwater management systems to address flooding.

Aufman was recognized also for his service in the U.S. Army, work as a school teacher, 61 years with the Ingomar Volunteer Fire Department and contributions as a youth baseball and basketball coach.

“We're losing a lot of knowledge with your departure into the world of retirement,” said Councilman William McKim, who presented Aufman with the street sign bearing his name.

Aufman, a Republican, withdrew from the spring primary after deciding against seeking a 12th four-year term as the Ward 2 representative.

Also recognized at the meeting was Councilman Ralph LeDonne, who has been an elected official in the town for the past 12 years.

LeDonne, 75, was elected to council after a 33-year career in law enforcement. He joined the McCandless police department after serving in the U.S. Army and held posts as a patrol officer, lieutenant and 10 years as chief.

During his years on council, LeDonne has chaired the recreation, public works and public safety committees. He was instrumental in establishing the town's recycling program, boosting the recruitment of volunteer firefighters and creation of the first K9 unit in McCandless.

In addition to being honored by council, LeDonne was presented with proclamations from Turzai's office and county council.

“Councilman LeDonne has earned a reputation for fairness, compassion and great concern for his community and its people,” McKim said.

LeDonne said his decades of public service have passed quickly.

“Forty-five years is a long time,” he said. “But I don't regret one second of those years and would gladly repeat that performance if given the opportunity.”

LeDonne lost his bid for a fourth four-year term as the Ward 6 representative on council to Carolyn Schweiger.

Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-772-6368 or tlarussa@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.

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