It’s a new day

Ben Avon’s new officials are: seated, from left, Mayor Melanie Holcomb and council president Jennifer Bett; Standing, from left. new council members Henry Casale, Michele Boyd, David Stoekle and Megan Dolan. Photo by Connie Rankin for The Citizen

Significant changes in composition, experience and leadership in the governments of two local boroughs are sure to bring a new day in this new year, although for better or worse remains to be seen.

Reorganization meetings were held in four North Boroughs municipalities Tuesday night.

In Ben Avon, only two incumbents with any government experience remain, as five new members of council and a new mayor were sworn in by District Judge Tara Smith. Jennifer Bett, whose husband, Michael, previously served on council, was unanimously elected council president, as was Megan Dolan as vice president.

The new majority quickly showed a willingness to take advantage of the experience offered by incumbents Earl Bohn and Ken Opipery. Opipery noted that he had experience in public works and finance, while Bohn’s background was in public safety and administration. All of council quickly agreed that they would chair those four committees, while new members joined them on each committee.

Things were a bit less reassuring in Bellevue when new Mayor Emily Marburger opened the floor for nominations for council president. New member Val Pennington raised his hand to be acknowledged for his nomination of Tom Hrynda, while Grant Saylor and Linda Woshner both yelled nominations for Tom Fodi and Tom Hrynda. Anya Pikul then unnecessarily nominated Fodi a second time. Fodi became president and Grant Saylor was elected vice president in the same 5-4 votes. In favor were Fodi, Saylor, Jodi Hause, Pikul and Glenn Pritchard. Opposed were Pennington, Anthony DiTullio, Woshner and Hrynda.

Woshner asked that Fodi consider creating two ad hoc committees, one to address blight, and the other to study the better use of technology in the borough government.

Before moving forward, however, Bellevue had to clear up a few problems from the past. As expected, former Mayor Paul Cusick vetoed the salary ordinance adopted by council in December because it failed to give administrative employees the same salary increases as union employees are receiving under their contract. With a two-thirds vote of council necessary to override the veto, that is exactly what the motion to override received. In favor were DiTullio, Hause, Saylor, Pikul, Hrynda and Woshner. Opposed were Fodi, Pritchard and Pennington.

Council then had to ratify also adopted by council in December, because it was discovered that the vote had occurred two days too soon under the borough’s home rule charter.

In Emsworth and Avalon, familiar faces abounded as most of the officials taking the oath of office were incumbents or previously involved with the borough.

Emsworth swore in its new mayor, Amy Sue Lillie, and three re-elected incumbent council members: Kevin Yurkovich, Dan Lenz and Jolene Bennett. Yurkovich had been elected to two different seats in November -- one for four years and the other a two-year term -- and opted to accept the four-year term. Former council member Carolyn Galante was appointed and sworn in to the two-year seat.Laura West, re-elected as tax collector, also was sworn in

Yurkovich was re-elected council president.

Ruth Lloyd was the only new face to take a seat on Avalon Council. She took the oath of office from her husband, new Mayor Tom Lloyd, as did re-elected incumbents William Pascale, Lee Nelson, John Crawford, J.P. McFeely and Shaun McWilliams. New tax collector Dennis Narcisi also took the oath of office,

Josh Klicker was re-elected council president. ,