5 candidates vie for 3 seats on Whitehall Borough council | TribLIVE.com
South Hills

5 candidates vie for 3 seats on Whitehall Borough council

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Robert McKown
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Harold Plusa
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Glenn Nagy
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Philip Lahr
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Chris Mooney

Whitehall Council candidates say they want to keep the municipality operating in a fiscally responsible manner while focusing on improvements to the sanitary and storm sewer systems and borough parks.

Five candidates, including three incumbents, will square off on Nov. 5 for three open four-year seats on borough council.

Incumbents Glenn Nagy, Philip Lahr and Robert McKown received the Democratic party nomination for the race in the May primary. McKown, who will appear on both party tickets, along with Harold Plusa and Chris Mooney, received the Republican nomination to appear on the ballot.

The Trib asked each candidate three questions. Here are their answers.

Glenn Nagy

Party affiliation: Democrat

Municipality: Whitehall Borough

Why did you decide to run for election? I am proud to run for re-election in Whitehall to maintain the fiscal stewardship and quality of life standards that have been in place since the borough’s creation.

What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed? As always, the biggest issue is infrastructure. The borough has outgrown its own sewer and stormwater systems. It’s not glamorous, but it must be done and it isn’t cheap.

What do voters need to know about you? I was first elected to council in 1996. I’m most proud of the cohesive and collegial relationships we have had as a council body. We are one of the only municipalities to rotate committee chairs and president and vice-president every year?

Philip Lahr

Party affiliation: Democrat

Municipality: Whitehall Borough

Why did you decide to run for election? I am running for election to continue keeping Whitehall Borough financially solvent and continue to keep it one of the four safest communities in Allegheny County. I want to continue to serve the residents as I have for the last 24 years, by keeping taxes low – we have not raised taxes in 16 years (prior to that it was 24 years); and upgrading the parks in Whitehall Borough.

What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed? Whitehall Borough has no issues. We are fiscally responsible and continue to keep Whitehall Borough one of the finest in Allegheny County.

What do voters need to know about you? I am a board member of Medical Rescue Team South Authority (MRTSA), a Eucharistic minister at St. Gabriel Church, a 50-year member of Whitehall Fire Company (past president for 10 years), and a catalyst in building a new police station (1984) and new firehouse in 2014. I also acquired over $1 million in over eight years of state grant money to enhance the community.

Robert McKown

Party affiliation: Republican / Democrat

Municipality: Whitehall Borough

Why did you decide to run for election? As a lifelong resident, I enjoy living in Whitehall, a community where it is safe for all of us to live, work and raise our families. As your councilman, I have worked hard to ensure your tax dollars are put to good use to maintain and improve our borough. I am constantly striving to keep taxes low while preserving and maintaining our safe and beautiful community. As a certified public accountant along with my past experience as your councilman, I will ensure our tax dollars are effectively and efficiently used to maintain and improve our borough.

What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed? Whitehall council will need to continue its prudent and fiscal responsibilities in its management and oversight of the borough’s activities. This will ensure a stable tax base that is utilized to fund the borough’s operations. Current issues are still our sanitary and storm sewer improvements to reduce and stop flooding – in addition to our current efforts to improve and refurbish our local parks.

What do voters need to know about you? I’m a lifelong resident of Whitehall. I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Robert Morris University and work as a certified public accountant at Goff Backa Alfera & Company, LLC. I’m married to Joanne, and we have two daughters, Michelle and Katie. I’m a member of the American and Pennsylvania Institutes of CPAs and am active in their student relationship committee. I am currently serving as a councilman for the Borough of Whitehall and have chaired numerous of its committees. I’m a past president of Whitehall Borough Council and have been a trustee and treasurer of Whitehall Borough Public Library.

I serve as a director of the Medical Rescue Team South (emergency medical service provider), am a past chairman and treasurer and have chaired its legal and finance committee. I am a director and past treasurer of the Friends of Whitehall Public Library. In addition, I am a past president of the Brentwood Baldwin Whitehall Chamber of Commerce and treasurer of the Brentwood Business Owners Association.

Harold Plusa

Political affiliation: Republican

Municipality: Whitehall Borough

Why did you decide to run for election? I believe that every citizen should maintain an active interest in what is happening in their community, our county, our commonwealth and our country. Where time permits, they should contribute based on their abilities and interests. As an officer in the United States Army, I was encouraged to be involved in my community. I represented my unit as a member of the school’s advisory board in Augsburg, Germany. I was the vice president of my homeowners’ association while serving as an assistant professor of military science at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. I was director of the Environment Protection Board for my homeowners’ association in South Fayette Township. Currently, I serve on the Borough of Whitehall Wildlife Management Committee under Mayor James Nowalk.

As a member of that committee, I have contributed articles to the Whitehall Borough Report. As a resident, I regularly attend borough council meetings. With my experience in the private and public sectors, I will welcome the opportunity to serve my community as a member of council for the Borough of Whitehall and would serve in an ethical and professional manner.

What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed? I believe that the Borough of Whitehall is a well managed, maintained and served community and that there are no significant issues. I would, however, like to see stronger enforcement of borough ordinances. As a candidate for borough council, some residents have expressed to me their concerns over the conditions of some properties and residents feeding wildlife and feral animals. I feel strongly that there should be term limits at all levels of government, thereby merging experience with fresh perspectives.

What do voters need to know about you? I am a lifelong resident of Allegheny County (except for time served on active duty) and have resided in Whitehall with my wife, Lynn, for more than 20 years. I grew up in Beechview and graduated with honors from South Hills High School. My interest in government dates back to a high school course in comparative political systems. I attended Duquesne University majoring in history as an undergraduate and teaching history and social studies as a graduate student. I worked to finance my education. Later, I completed coursework in accounting, business administration and information systems at the Community College of Allegheny County. I am a major, retired, United States Army. While on active duty and as a reservist, I have served as a unit commander, as a staff officer at battalion, brigade and general staff levels, and as an Army ROTC instructor. In the private sector, I have worked in human resources and information systems. I retired from FedEx as a senior programmer analyst. I am a committeeman for the Republican Party for both Whitehall and Allegheny County. I am a member of the American Legion, the Reserve Officers Association and the Veterans Breakfast Club.

Chris A. Mooney

Party affiliation: Republican

Municipality: Whitehall Borough

Why did you decide to run for election? This is a well-run municipality. However, it seems that we have become complacent in our outlook about the services that the borough provides and the way those services are delivered. I believe that I can bring a fresh perspective to the table.

What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed? Over the past three decades, the population of the borough has declined while the cost of municipal services has increased. Over the past 10 years, the borough budget has increased over 38%. In 2009 the borough was debt-free, now we are almost $5 million in debt. The cost of servicing this debt in 2019 is $646,000. We need to reduce the cost of providing municipal services in ways that cause the least amount of disruption to our residents. We also need to do a better job of attracting young families by reaching out to them to ensure that the services we provide align with their needs.

What do voters need to know about you? I have spent decades working at AAA in various roles focusing on providing services in a timely, cost-effective manner. My wife and I have been proud to call Whitehall home for more than 30 years. During that time, I have served eight years on the board of The Friends of the Whitehall Public Library, including four years as treasurer. I believe that Whitehall Borough is a wonderful place to call home, and a great place to raise a family. But I know we can do better. I want to make sure that families can continue to prosper here.

Categories: Local | South Hills
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