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Charleroi Area hires Bassi

| Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2003

CHARLEROI - Mel Bassi arrived at his Charleroi office Tuesday morning to learn that his law firm would - after four years away - serve as solicitor for an old client.

The Charleroi Area School Board Monday decided to renew the district's 40-year relationship with Bassi's law firm. The board voted 6-2 to hire Bassi, McCune, and Vreeland. Directors John Rotheram and Rick Bergstedt cast dissenting votes.

Mel Bassi first served the board as solicitor in 1958 and was joined in that responsibility by his son, Keith, in 1984. In 1999, the board hired attorney Alan Benyak as solicitor.

"We've always enjoyed a good relationship with the school board," Mel Bassi said. "With that many years experience, we welcome the opportunity to serve the public again."

"I felt, like the board did, that they bring a lot to the table as far as experience is concerned," director Ken Wiltz said of Bassi, McCune, and Vreeland. "This was nothing against Alan Benyak. He served the district well."

Benyak said the board's decision did not surprise him.

"I knew with the new board they would want someone of their own choosing," Benyak said. "It's a political appointment, and I understood that.

"I enjoyed the four years I served. I have no regrets, and I have no hard feelings toward the board."

Wiltz was elected board president Monday. This is Wiltz's third stint as board president, having previously filled the roll from 1999 to 2001 and for several years in the late 1980s.

Rich Hall was elected vice president and Valarie Porter Hank, treasurer.

Although the general election was just a few weeks ago, the board is seeking a new member.

Elaine Pappasergi was elected to a two-year and a four-year term on Election Day. Directors can only hold one board seat.

Pappasergi chose the four-year term, leaving a vacancy for the two-year post.

The district will accept letters of interest from candidates 18 and older through Dec. 8.

The board will interview candidates Dec. 11. It is expected to select a director at its Dec. 16 business meeting.

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