Vacancy News

Bill Shuster NOT running for re-election 

Breaking News…Republican Congressman Bill Shuster, who is the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, will not seek re-election in November, telling the Washington Examiner that he wants to focus exclusively on working with President Trump to pass a massive infrastructure bill before he retires.
The western Pennsylvania Republican, who has held the seat since 2002, said he does not want campaigning or anything else to get in the way of helping Trump get this major piece of legislation passed by Congress in 2018.
He said he could focus on working with both parties better if he didn’t have to worry about running to hold his seat in a primary and general election.

election results, Municipal Elections, Vacancy News

Bullskin Township Supervisor, Auditor, Poll Workers results

In Bullskin Township, there is was a race this election for a six-year term supervisor. Incumbent Scott Keefer, with 345 votes for the democratic nod with Chris Ohler with 283 votes for the republican nod. However Township Resident Carl Butler is seeking a write in nod, so we will see if the ballot changes in time or not.

No Candidate filed for the Six-Year Term for Tax Collector in Bullskin

For Six Year Term Auditor in the Township, Christopher J. Lacey secured the Democratic nod with 416 votes. Leslie Wiltrout conducted a Write-In Campaign for Auditor, so ths may change as well.

There was no candidates that filed for either Judge or Inspector of Elections in Districts 1 (Bullskin School) or 2 (Bullskin VFC Central Station.)

However, at the Bear Rocks District. Julia E. Weeks secured the Democratic Nod for Judge of Elections with 88 Votes. With no Republican Challenger, she will likely attain that position in the fall. As for Inspector of Elections at Bear Rocks District, Democrat Laurie B. McGinnis with 87 votes will face off with Republican Mark Allen Fiano, who recieved 80 votes in the primary election/

Election Notices, Municipal Elections, Vacancy News

Appointed supervisor seeks two-year seat in German Township

An Adah man appointed to the role of German Township supervisor is seeking a two-year term in that position in the May 16 primary.

Louis “L.C.” Otto is running on the Democratic ballot and also accepting Republican write-in votes since there is no GOP candidate for supervisor. Otto was appointed supervisor to fill the unexpired term of Dan Shimshock at the end of 2015. Shimshock resigned at 2015’s end to become a magisterial district judge, leaving behind a term set to expire at the end of 2019 that Otto seeks to keep.

Nelson Croushore and Rick Matthews are seeking the same two-year term on the Democratic ballot, although Croushore also filed to seek a six-year term as a Democrat, as did incumbent Bob Belch and challenger Rick Matthews.

“I feel we have a lot of great opportunities in the future, and I want to be a part of that,” Otto said.

Otto highlighted what he said are his two biggest accomplishments as supervisor so far. One is negotiating a deal with Atlantic Broadband to provide cable and high-speed internet by the end of 2018 without a tax increase to township residents limited to options such as DirecTV and Verizon dial-up.

“We’re writing it up as a victory,” Otto said.

The other accomplishment is helping to institute a three-member German Township Police Department starting in January with no tax increase, which Otto said has bolstered community policing. State police served the township from 1998, when the township police department disbanded, until two years ago, when supervisors contracted with Southwest Regional Police.

Otto said he works outside more than inside as supervisor, plowing snow, filling potholes and going “on the road” every day with the other two supervisors and the township road crew.

“I get down and dirty,” Otto said.

Otto added that he oversees correspondence with PennDOT and the state Department of Environmental Protection, also handling grant, ordinance and liquid fuels responsibilities.

“I’ve been heavily involved in the community for most of my life,” Otto said.

A 2009 graduate of California University of Pennsylvania and 2005 graduate of Albert Gallatin Area High School, Otto is chief of the Adah Volunteer Fire Department and an active member of the Ronco Volunteer Fire Department. Before becoming supervisor, Otto worked in the oil and gas industry as a petroleum land man, leasing parcels for gas and oil companies to drill on.

“I have a passion for German Township,” Otto said

Candidate Legal Issues, Municipal Elections, Vacancy News

Masontown, South Connellsville races spur public interest

Two small Fayette County boroughs drew a wide field of candidates for available mayoral and council positions in advance of the spring primary.

Voters will have a variety of state, county, municipal and school district candidates to weigh when they go to the polls, with South Connellsville and Masontown boroughs offering the most candidates in the local government races.

The deadline to file candidate petitions with the Fayette County Election Bureau was Tuesday.

Since December, South Connellsville council and its police chief have found themselves the focal point of three lawsuits with Chief Russell Miller also charged by the county with official oppression.

A preliminary hearing for Miller in the county matter is scheduled for March 20.

The lawsuits, both past and present, have also resulted in the borough insurance carrier notifying council it will no longer provide liability insurance when the current policy expires in May. Council is hoping to find another carrier to provide the coverage.

While the borough matters appear dire, three of the four current council members have opted to seek re­election, including Republicans Karen Holbrook, George Jay and Kimberly S. Laws. Council member Clyde Martz, a Democrat, did not file a petition for another term in office.

Those challenging the incumbents include Democrats Jerry Reagan, Mary M. Riley­Mert, Donnie Ringer and current borough Mayor Jim Swink.

Shelley Mattis, a Republican, will also be on the ballot.

The mayoral position, too, also drew multiple candidates, including former Democratic Mayor Pete Casini, who will be challenged for the party nomination by James B. Manges.

Casini, who was charged by police in 2015 with theft, is serving the final months in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for first time offenders. Those admitted to the program are not required to admit their guilt to the charge.

Jay Fox III will run unopposed on the Republican ballot.

Masontown, meanwhile, does not have the legal woes but does struggle with how to make infrastructural and other improvements with the limited finances of an aging community.

Five four­year term council positions are available, and one two-year term position is open.

Incumbent Democrats Bruce A. Cochrane, Charles A. Corcoran, Harry Lee, Frank McLaughlin and Kay Rendina will be challenged for the party nomination by Madeline Maddy Arnold, Samuel Chahl, Pat Lubits Gump and Rich Wiggins.

On the Democratic ballot for the two­year term will be Tony Brnusak and Louise Durinzi, along with Cochrane and McLaughlin.

There are no Republican candidates on the council ballots.

Democratic Mayor Toni Petrus will be challenged by Tom Loukota for the party nod.

No Republican candidates filed a petition for the mayoral post.

Other municipality races include: ­­

Brownsville Borough Mayor Lester Ward is not seeking re­election. Democrats James S. Lawver, Ross Swords and Bruce N. Wells are all vying for the party nomination. No Republican candidates filed. ­­

Bullskin Township incumbent Supervisor Scott Keefer will have no challengers for the Democratic Party nomination in the primary but will face the lone Republican candidate, Chris Ohler, in the general election. ­­

Connellsville Councilman Tom Karpiak and Shaun Basinger, both Democrats, along with Republican Robert Topper Jr. will vie for the two available council positions. Current Councilman James McIntire opted not to seek re­election.

City Mayor Greg Lincoln, a Democrat, faces no challengers on the ballot. ­­

Dunbar Township Supervisor Keith Fordyce will not be challenged for the Democratic nod in the spring. However, Republican challengers John R. Romanko and Mark E. Virgillo will square off for the GOP nomination with the winner to face Fordyce in the fall for the single open seat. ­­

Dunbar Borough Mayor Norman E. Gordon will be challenged by Andy Lowry for the Republican nomination in the primary. No Democrats filed in the race. ­­

North Union Township Supervisor Rob Kovach declined to seek re­election, paving the way for four Democrats and one Republican to seek the open seat.

Democrats Ed Jobes, Ron Landman, David R. Molchan and Larry Russman will seek the party nomination with winner going on to face lone Republican candidate David A. Hughes in the fall.

South Union Township Supervisor Rick Vernon, a Democrat, will face Republican challenger Patrick Lion in the fall general election. ­­

Washington Township Supervisor Chuck Yusko will face Democratic challenger William Bergman for the party nomination in the primary. No Republican candidates filed for the open position. ­­

Wharton Township Supervisor Jim Means, a Republican, will be challenged in the fall election by Democrat Darwin Sonny Herring.

Larry Blosser, Fayette County Election Bureau director, said challenges to the municipal petitions must be filed with the election bureau by March 14. The last day for candidates to withdraw their name from the ballot is March 22.

The primary election is May 16.

Information Articles, Vacancy News

Jaynes to resign as city treasurer at end of year

BY TONY SONITA, Connellsville Daily Courier 

Connellsville City Treasurer Bruce Jaynes said Wednesday that he will step down at the end of the year.

The announcement came during the city’s budget meeting.

“I told (Connellsville mayor) Greg (Lincoln) I gave it two good years, but I don’t want to be not coming down here and short-changing the city and not doing a good job,” Jaynes said Wednesday. “I’ve been thinking about it for a few months.”

Jaynes said that he recently got married and would like to travel with his family. He will stay on until the end of the year, but has turned in a letter of resignation. The letter will be acted on at city council’s November meeting.

“I respect (Jaynes) for not staying and just collecting a paycheck,” said Lincoln.

The city will accept letters of interest to fill the remaining portion of Jaynes’ term. A new treasurer will need to be elected.

City officials used Wednesday’s meeting to continue to fine-tune the preliminary 2017 budget, due by the end of the year.

The city’s focus continues to surround the city’s $10 per capita tax and mercantile tax.

“I have racked my brain trying to figure out a way to update the address list,” Jaynes said. “Even at that point, how do you send it out to collect it?”

Lincoln noted that the city needs to look at expenditures and issues that can be fixed in 2017. Among them, Lincoln was critical with Pennsylvania American Water for how it handles road construction to fix water lines.

“I know that South Union puts a timeframe on (Pa. American Water),” he said. “As soon as they start digging, they’re on the clock.”

Lincoln said the city should look into adjusting their contract with Hoffman Kennels, saying that Connellsville is overpaying because the state’s third-class city code requires a kennel of record and Hoffman “is the only game in town.”

In 2016, the city will pay $4,800 to Hoffman. Lincoln said he compared the prices with surrounding municipalities and found that Southwest Greensburg is paying $100 a month and $75 for emergency calls, well below what Connellsville pays.

Still, city clerk Vern Ohler said that he believes the city’s budget is well on its way.

“I think we’re a year or two away from where we want to be, but we’ll get there,” he said.

“I think we’re in good shape. I think the city’s in good shape,” Jaynes said. “Tying up some of these loose ends is a good thing.”

Tony Sonita is a Daily Courier staff writer. He can be reached at 724-628-2000, ext. 111, or at tsonita@dailycourier.com.