8 compete for 4 Oakmont council seats | TribLIVE.com
Plum/Oakmont

8 compete for 4 Oakmont council seats

Dillon Carr
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Submitted
Nancy Ride
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Submitted
Lindsay Osterhout
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William Wengerd Submitted
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Submitted
Sophia Facaros
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Submitted
Andrew Zentgraf
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Matthew Duran
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Randy Galm

Voters in Oakmont who go to the polls will see eight names on the ballots for four seats on borough council.

Three of the seats are for four-year terms; the other is for a two-year term.

Following is information submitted by the candidates as well as their response to questions posed by the Trib.

Question 1: What are the two biggest challenges facing Oakmont Borough and what ideas or policies will you offer, support or promote to address them?

Question 2: How has your background and experience equipped you for this position?

David Brankley

Party: Democratic

Term: 2-year

Home: 7th Street

Age: 64

Occupation: Retired, Oakmont Police

Political experience: Not provided

Question 1: Not provided

Question 2: Not provided

Matthew Duran

Party: Republican

Term: 4-year

Home: 10th Street

Age: 36

Occupation: Mortgage loan officer

Political experience: None

Question 1: The two biggest challenges facing Oakmont Borough are (1) to continue to foster a growing and vibrant positive business climate and (2) preserve the safety of all residents-especially as it relates to traffic around the high school. As someone with a background in business, I would use my marketing ability to market our town to attract new business and families. As a concerned resident, husband and father I want to see the wonderful aspects of Oakmont preserved. I would ensure that Oakmont remains a town that is safe to walk as I believe that being a walking town is one of the things that makes us so special. I will explore any and all options that will help maintain this safety.

Question 2: As someone who has not only worked in business but in education, I believe I am well equipped to be part of an important decision making process that will have an impact on the operation of the district. My ability to thoroughly analyze all problems and potential solutions is a unique characteristic that will ensure that all possible outcomes are considered before voting on any decision.

Sophia Facaros

Party: Democratic

Term: Four-year

Home: 13th Street

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired principal, Pittsburgh Public Schools (38 years)

Political experience : Served on Oakmont Borough council 2012-2017 and filled a seat for two years 2002-04

Question 1: The two biggest challenges I believe are facing Oakmont are continuing to keep Oakmont safe from outside forces of fracking and drilling on our properties and maintaining our present tax rate without increases as the borough provides the citizens a very safe and vibrant community.

Question 2: With my deep roots in Oakmont where my husband John and I have lived for 44 years and raised four sons paired with my experience as an administrator from a very big school district, I know I can work with the borough manager, council members and the citizens of Oakmont to keep Oakmont the vibrant community that means so much to all of us.

Randy Galm

Party: Republican

Term: 2-year

Home: 1st Street

Age: 59

Occupation: Retired, Westinghouse vice president

Political experience: Appointed councilman

Question 1: First and foremost I want ensure the public’s safety in Oakmont. This means ensuring adequate funding and support for police protection, fire protection, traffic control, pedestrian safety and storm water management. Secondly, I want to preserve and enhance the quality of life we have all come to enjoy in this wonderful community. This means supporting many of the initiatives that make Oakmont unique and encourage people to live here including our Carnegie Library and our many existing and planned parks that are enjoyed by many of our residents. Finally, I want to see Oakmont continue to grow and prosper in a fiscally responsible way by helping to develop a balanced budget that keeps taxes low while providing the necessary funding for enhancing infrastructure as we continue to change.

Question 2: Over my 37 year career at Westinghouse, I held leadership positions in finance, project management and operations across several key business segments including energy, manufacturing and government. This experience provides for a logical and collaborative approach to problem solving. Additionally, with three current council members not returning, the learning I have had since being appointed to Council in March 2019 will significantly help the transition with new council members.

Lindsay Osterhout

Party: Democratic

Term: 4-year

Home: Oakmont

Age: 40

Occupation: Attorney

Political experience: None

Question 1: I think keeping Oakmont’s business district vibrant is a challenge. It is important to have a variety of shops and restaurants. One proposal would be to get a community group together to study the issue and offer ideas to encourage new restaurants and shops in Oakmont. Verona is seeing a wonderful revitalization and we shouldn’t let the business district in Oakmont fall behind. Flooding is also a very serious issue. I’ve personally stressed over it concerning the library flooding in the past and I know residents in The Commons were recently devastated by it. I don’t propose to know an end-all solution at this time, but I would like to see the borough clearly communicate to the community what actually can and cannot be done to fix the problem. I think that is the first step, so community members can realistically know what help the borough can provide. Hopefully with clear communication and joint effort between the borough and residents, flooding damage can be reduced.

Question 2: As an attorney, I understand the importance of first gathering all the facts and learning about the issue before making a decision. I know the importance of asking questions and speaking with those in the community who have insight on the topic. Additionally, serving on the Oakmont Carnegie Library board has given me a window into seeing how council works with the various groups and juggles the many responsibilities associated with keeping a borough running well.

Nancy Ride

Party: Democratic

Term: 4-year

Home: California Avenue

Age: Not provided

Occupation: Retired. Formerly an estate and trust paralegal for Reed Smith and then Lovett Bookman Harmon Marks.

Political experience: Borough council from 2009 to 2016.

Question 1: The flooding in the Oakmont Commons neighborhood and businesses and homes along Plum Street is a serious problem. We need to continue to work with the residents and neighboring communities and other government resources on prevention of recurring flooding. Our community is a wonderful place to live. Maintaining and improving the infrastructure, parks and library is a primary responsibility of borough government.

Question 2: I am a lifelong resident, have volunteered extensively in the community and, most importantly, have served on council for eight years. During my first term I discovered there is much more than I had anticipated to learn about running this community and all the people who contribute to our success. Oakmont depends on its many dedicated volunteers and I know their importance and value their ideas. With my prior experience, I can be effective immediately and will work to build open discussions, respect for residents and cooperation among council members.

William Wengerd

Party: Republican

Term: 4-year

Home: Oakmont

Age: 79

Occupation: Civil engineer

Political experience: None

Question 1: I believe that two of the biggest challenges facing Oakmont Borough are infrastructure improvements and the management of storm water control according to regulation. I believe that these are important in ensuring a continued safe environment for Oakmont residents. Infrastructure improvements include the replacement of antiquated inlets, street paving projects, and highway traffic control. Many Oakmont residents recently experienced localized flooding. I believe it is necessary to continue collaboration with adjacent communities upstream to promote a plan for sound storm water control. This will help to ensure that Oakmont residents are best protected from potential flooding. I will advocate for these projects to occur while maintaining fiscal responsibility to ensure that Oakmont has the resources to continue to be the place we are proud to call home. I will work with residents, council members, and the engineering representative to ensure communication related to these projects. I am running because Oakmont is my home and continuing to have a safe community for residents is important to me.

Question 2: While working as a professional engineer at Senate Engineering, I had the opportunity to serve as the contracted engineering representative for several local townships and boroughs. For nine years, I regularly attended Oakmont council meetings in this role, and was able to offer my expertise. I offered advice during different construction projects around Oakmont including road and bridge construction, site plans, and subdivision review as a few examples. Seeing the needs of Oakmont in this way, along with Allegheny Township, Oklahoma Borough, and New Bethlehem Borough, gives me a unique perspective on understanding a community’s infrastructure along with what needs to be balanced to best resolve these needs. I believe that my experience as an engineer along with what I’ve learned participating in borough council meetings equips me to help make decisions to ensure the long term vitality of Oakmont.

Andrew Zentgraf

Party: Republican

Term: 4-year

Home: Oakmont

Age: 23

Occupation: Government affairs consultant

Political experience: None

Question 1: In my view, the two biggest challenges facing Oakmont Borough are sustainable economic development and continued support for borough institutions. Creating a healthy and sustainable environment for small businesses goes far beyond the surface level. Small businesses rely on proper infrastructure, parking, lighting and effective public safety in order to flourish. Through my consulting work, I have a deep understanding of the holistic qualities that attract businesses and young families to boroughs. I seek to make addressing these issues a primary concern of mine on council. Relatedly, a large part of what makes Oakmont the community that it is are institutions like the Oakmont Carnegie Library and organizations like the Oakmont Recreation Board. When I was in high school, my first job was at the Oakmont Carnegie Library. I saw first hand that the library is a dynamic place for everyone whether they be high schoolers looking for a place to study, a young family seeking children’s books or a lifelong learner of any age. As a competitive runner, I know full well what support for parks can do for a borough. Oakmont’s several parks provide a place to build a sense of community with our neighbors and promote healthy living. Continuing support to these institutions and forging key partnerships will continue to make Oakmont a community and not just a town.

Question 2: I have ample experience consulting for municipalities and completing state and federal grant applications. This experience allows me to have an understanding of the diverse problems that municipalities face. As an experienced grant-writer, I bring a ready ability to assist in the sustainable development and maintenance of Oakmont’s infrastructure and institutions to council. Additionally, as a young adult, I feel well positioned to maintain what has kept my family in Oakmont for six generations. By providing a new perspective to council, I aim to keep Oakmont the great community that it always has been for the future.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Plum
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