Penn Hills man creates petition in response to Penn Hills mayor silencing resident
A Penn Hills resident has created an online petition in hopes of eliciting an apology from the Penn Hills mayor after she refused a woman a chance to speak at a recent public meeting.
Corey Young, 30, created the petition Tuesday after watching video footage of the Penn Hills Council meeting from the prior evening. Young did not attend the meeting.
“I really just hope to present (the petition) to council, and the mayor specifically, to let her know that the way she behaved the other night was unprofessional and unbecoming of a public official,” Young said.
Mayor Sara Kuhn silenced a resident who had signed up to speak and had gained approval from the administration during Penn Hills’ council meeting on Monday. The resident, Sara Snatchko, had written a prepared statement, which she began to read when Kuhn stopped her after three sentences.
Snatchko’s one-page statement related to allegations that surfaced in an Allegheny County grand jury report about Craig Alexander of Bruce E. Dice & Associates, who represents both the Penn Hills School District and the municipality.
“This is a petition to let current mayor of Penn Hills, Sara Kuhn, know that we will not stand for her insults, belittling comments, or screaming any longer,” reads the petition. “It is clear that Mayor Kuhn needs to be reminded that she serves the people, not the other way around.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition purportedly had 97 signatures and nearly 30 comments attached to it.
Young plans to give the petition to Kuhn, himself.
“I want to print it out with everyone’s comments,” he said, referencing the petition’s website.
Young said he created the petition because he claimed he has noticed a pattern in Penn Hills.
“It seems like we’re stuck in this cycle where something like this comes out and people are outraged and gripe on social media — and then they move on. And yes, I posted this on social media. But this is one step farther than what exists already,” he said.
Young ran unsuccessfully as a write-in candidate to be a representative of state House District 32 in 2018. However, he said he currently has no political aspirations.
He hopes the petition results in an apology from the mayor.
“I think a public apology would be fantastic — a step in the right direction,” Young said. “Even if she doesn’t apologize to the public, she definitely owes Ms. Snatchko an apology.”
Kuhn, who is not running for re-election, said she will not apologize to anyone for her actions. She said a man who stood up and challenged her during the meeting should be the one to apologize.
Snatchko’s boyfriend, who was part of the audience and did not publicly identify himself, was escorted by a police officer out of the building when he stood up and called the mayor’s silencing of his girlfriend “silliness,” among other things. The man was not arrested.
“I didn’t stand up and scream. Perhaps he should give an apology to mayor and council. He behaved badly and rudely and was given three opportunities to sit down. His behavior compared to the mayor’s is nowhere near the same. There is no apology to be made,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn said she has always allowed people who sign up to speak at council meetings the opportunity to do so without a time limit.
But “(Snatchko) was not asking a professional question regarding the actions of the solicitor in any type of work that he performed for the municipality. She wanted to use her forum for a personal attack pertaining to the grand jury,” Kuhn said.
The mayor said the proper place to speak about what was in her statement is at a school board meeting.
“I will not let someone come up there on the possibility to bring that bull crap into the council chambers of the municipality,” she said. “I don’t care how many signatures a petition gets.”
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .