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Politics

Newcomer takes on Wecht for coroner

| Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2001

The candidates for Allegheny County coroner could not be more different.

Incumbent Dr. Cyril Wecht, 70, has been a fixture on the local political scene for more than 30 years, while Scott M. Finney, 58, a longtime funeral director from Clairton, is a political newcomer.

And while Finney is a Republican candidate of few words, Wecht, a Democrat, thrives in front of the cameras.

The two are vying for the four-year term to head the coroner's office, which investigates unnatural, unattended and violent deaths throughout the county. The row office had a budget allocation of $6.3 million this year.

Finney demonstrated his penchant for brevity with his explanation of why he's challenging Wecht for coroner.

"All I'm doing is giving the voting public an opportunity for choice. Basically, that's it," Finney said. "Wecht has been in there a long time."

Finney said he wouldn't say much more or "get into any mudslinging." He did say, though, he's been in the funeral business for 30 years, currently as the funeral director of the Finney Funeral Home. He's a Vietnam Navy veteran, and he has four children.

He also promised that, if he won, "I would run a good operation."

Wecht, first elected coroner in 1969, said he didn't plan many changes if he's re-elected.

"We will continue as we have been," Wecht said. "What we've been doing has been good. I'm always looking to improve."

Wecht said he felt pretty confident about and has spent most of his time on the campaign trail stumping for other Democrats.

"I certainly expect to be re-elected," Wecht said.

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