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North Huntingdon official declares 'day of vindication'

| Saturday, June 16, 2012, 2:54 p.m.

In light of Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck's decision not to prosecute four North Huntingdon commissioners accused by another board member of violating the Sunshine Act, Commissioner Tony Martino declared Wednesday a "day of vindication."

Commissioner Richard Gray filed a complaint with the District Attorney's Office on Feb. 10 accusing Martino, along with commissioners Angelo Furlin, Don Austin and board President David Herold, of meeting secretly to orchestrate the removal of former manager Kelly Wolfe from her position prior to a public discussion among all seven commissioners Feb. 14.

On May 6, Peck said there was no evidence the four commissioners violated the Sunshine Act.

In a prepared statement Martino read last night, he called the complaint "nothing more than an attempt by some to cast aspersions on others using half-truths and outright lies."

"After being falsely publicly demeaned, slandered and falsely accused, the people of North Huntingdon now know that their elected officials did no wrong," Martino said. "It is bullying. It is slanderous and it is childish. If you can't work and play well with others, take your ball and go home."

"I stand by the statements I made," Gray said.

Martino shot back, "You're wrong."

In an e-mail sent yesterday evening to the Tribune-Review, Gray said he hand-delivered a letter to Peck's office stating he would like the district attorney to reconsider his allegations, along with some copies of transcripts, telephone messages and e-mails concerning the Wolfe issue.

In other business, commissioners tabled a decision on the proposed sale of township property housing the Public Works Department to the developers of the Walgreens-Starbucks retail complex on Route 30 near Lincoln Way.

After 30 minutes of debate, commissioners decided they needed more time to review their options before settling on a property sale.

Commissioners will discuss the sale at the June 12 workshop, but will not take any action until the June 18 regular meeting.

Less than a week before Memorial Day, commissioners unanimously agreed to allow one soccer field at the Oak Hollow Park complex to be named after Staff Sgt. David Wieger, a township resident who was killed in Iraq in November.

The idea was introduced by some residents a month ago, but some commissioners were concerned that allowing the honor would set a precedent they couldn't accommodate or would cause other families with war heroes to be offended.

Last night, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 781 Commander Don Kattic said the military community supported the memorial because Wieger was a township resident who grew up playing soccer and dreamed of serving his community as a police officer one day.

"His dream was never realized and paid the ultimate sacrifice with his life," he said.

Commissioners agreed to erect a plaque at the field.

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