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New Kensington Council accepts coordinator's resignation

| Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Council on Monday accepted the resignation of Weed and Seed coordinator Chip Bell.

Council voted, 4-1, with Councilman Mike Langer casting the dissenting vote.

Langer voted, "No," almost in jest, saying he was the one who suggested about three years ago that council hire Bell.

Bell was hired in 2002 as project director/AID Team coordinator and effectively ran the program in New Kensington and Arnold.

Until his resignation is effective at the end of the month, Bell is the highest non-elected official on the Weed and Seed totem pole.

Bell said earlier this month that he refused to accept a $55,000 per year salary for a job requiring far less work now than it did three years ago.

Among other things, Bell organized the volunteers who will keep Weed and Seed functioning in its fourth, and possibly final, year.

New Kensington and Arnold are entering the final year of a four-year agreement with the state. Bell estimated it will cost the cities about $200,000 to operate the program in the final year.

The cities assume the entire cost of the program July 1.

New Kensington Council members credited Bell with making the program a success. Langer said state officials consider the local Weed and Seed program to be the best in the state.

New Kensington and Arnold officials have not said if they will continue with the program, which aims to revitalize blighted communities, after next June.

Meantime, council decided to promote an employee who's also been with the city about three years.

Council unanimously agreed to hire Pat McGrath as a full-time code enforcement officer at $30,000 per year plus benefits.

McGrath has been working part-time with the department, which has one other part-time officer and a full-time secretary.

In other business:

  • Announced that the city is looking for volunteers to work a fund-raising spaghetti dinner on Thursday.

    The dinner will be sponsored by a Pittsburgh TV station. Proceeds will benefit the fire department and flood victims.

    The cost of the dinner, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m., is $5 per person.

    To volunteer, call 724-337-4523.

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