Content about Kathy Coder


When it comes to political advertising these days, the entry of political action committees into the campaign wars has pretty much guaranteed that no blow is too low. Until recently, however, the mud-slinging has been focused primarily on statewide and national races. Now, it's oozing into our backyards.

The relationship between candidates and PACs is interesting. On one hand, the candidate can point to the offensive literature and say "I didn't have anything to do with that. It was the PAC!" And sometimes that is quite true.


The new buzz word in the Bellevue borough hall is "unenforceable." Council is being chastised for adopting laws, rules and regulations that are "unenforceable."

Apparently "unenforceable," at least among some Bellevue officials, means 100 percent of the people who violate the law can't be caught and punished.

It is a somewhat creative definition of the word, given that no law exists anywhere, at any time, that is always followed or all violators of which are caught.


It seems, folks, that all of us subjected to the Bellevue pre-council meeting have suffered a massive group delusion.

The mayor was not ranting and swearing and attacking council members because they did not want to hire his son. He was indulging in a temper tantrum because no one would tell him WHY they did not want to hire his son.

Or so says council member Kathy Coder, who went on to tell the majority of council that they could have avoided all of this simply by explaining themselves.


I hope a lot of Bellevue residents are planning to attend the budget hearing on Monday. Bellevue Council needs to hear your voices when it comes to their plan to increase property taxes by a quarter-mill and raise the sewer surcharge.

The fiscal situation in Bellevue was summed up quite brilliantly by council president Kathy Coder at the last meeting: "It's like having cable t.v. when you have no food on the table."

She was referring to Bellevue financing a swimming pool while not having money for the necessities.

She gets it.

Some others clearly do not.


This being the second week of the month, I have spent untold hours gathering, reporting and publishing the news of the week -- to the exclusion of such things as sleep and medical attention for what has become the cold from hell.

Now that I am exhausted, cranky and a bit groggy, here's what I think about our big stories this week.


I hope that I am not the only person stunned by a suggestion made at Bellevue Council's meeting on Tuesday, but given the lack of horrified gasps in the room, that may very well be the case.


Sometimes things happen in the course of gathering news that defy our best efforts to shape them into a news story.


On Monday, Jan. 4, The Citizen staff attended five different municipal meetings. At the first four, the procedure was pretty much the same. The meetings began at the advertised time with the swearing-in of newly-elected officials, followed by the election of a president and vice president. They then moved quickly through such first-of-the-year business as naming committees, appointing a solicitor, and setting meeting dates for the coming year. The meetings ended with everyone sharing refreshments and good will.


Bellevue officials unhappy with a council decision to hire the borough’s engineering firm to develop a plan for the town’s parks decided to strike out on their own, resulting in a heated exchange at the pre-council meeting last Tuesday.


Bellevue will not be entering into a contract to outsource its bookkeeping work, at least not right now.

A representative of Bookminders spoke at the pre-council meeting two weeks ago, estimating that it would cost the borough about $25,000 a year to hire the company to take over data entry work being done by the borough's financial clerk. Finance committee chair Kathy Coder said this would free up the clerk for more important work.

At that time, neither the clerk nor director of administrative services Ron Borczyk had reviewed the company's written proposal.


Bellevue Council will consider a suggestion to outsource much of the borough’s accounting work, although some officials question whether Bellevue really will get its money’s worth from the move.

The suggestion comes from council’s finance committee. Committee chair Kathy Coder introduced Tom Joseph of Bookminders at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting.

According to Joseph, the company handles accounting work for about 400 nonprofits and small businesses from offices in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Municipalities, including Munhall Borough, also are among the company’s clients.


House tour.

The words bring to mind such locales as Sewickley, Ben Avon, Mt. Lebanon.

Rightfully so, with their unique architecture, tended landscapes, welcoming hosts.

But now it's time to add one more stop on the tour circuit: Bellevue.

From 1 to 5 p.m. on May 9, several of Bellevue's best will be open to the public for self-guided tours, with four homes and two churches, as well as the Hermann museum selected for viewing.


Bellevue Mayor Paul Cusick broke a tie vote among Bellevue Council members Tuesday night to reject a proposal to hire an independent actuary to review the borough’s pension plans.

Although council voted in December to hire a new actuary, according to council member Linda Woshner, Tuesday’s vote on the matter came to a 4-4 tie, with Woshner, Jim Scisciani, Vence Menosky and Lynn Tennant Heffley in favor, and opposition from Kathy Coder, Matt Senvisky, Mark Helbling and Henry Lenard.


An announcement by Bellevue Mayor Paul Cusick at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting triggered a discussion that could impact the way the school resource officer at Northgate High School is paid.

Bellevue Police Sgt. Mike Hudson is stationed full-time at the high school during the school year at a cost of about $60,000 for nine months, according to Cusick. He said that Northgate, in the past, has contributed $20,000 to that cost, although school grants of $30,000 and $60,000 have paid a larger share the last two years.


Miscommunication and misunderstanding, along with a splash of politics, led to a tidal wave of problems as Bellevue Council attempted to prepare Tuesday for the opening of the Memorial Park swimming pool.

An effort to hire personnel revealed several procedural problems that may have been overlooked during the transition to a new council at the beginning of the year.

Parks committee chair Lynn Tennant Heffley announced that the pool manager this year would be subject to a new job description, which already had been explained to manager Maureen Grant, Heffley said.


A new committee of Bellevue Council will attempt to rid the borough's main street of the many utility poles that line Lincoln Avenue.

Council member Kathy Coder said that she had been trying to get information from utilities about what services are using the poles, but had not been able to get very far.

She will join with council member Linda Woshner, Mayor Paul Cusick, director of administrative services Ron Borczyk and engineer John Rusnak to tackle the problem.


Bellevue will continue to reach out to its residents through social media while officials consider the development of a policy to cover such efforts.

According to director of administrative services Ron Borzcyk, the borough’s Facebook and Twitter accounts were shut down for a short period of time after the borough received complaints about the use of profanity in posts.


Bellevue Borough will award a streetscape design contract without looking at proposals from other firms after extended discussion and a vote at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting.

The Lincoln Avenue streetscape project is entering its second phase, at least on paper. A design contract for the first phase was awarded in December of 2011, with bid documents expected to be available within nine months. The project, however, was not put out to bid until the spring of 2013. Construction is expected this year.


Three brand new council members, a new mayor, and a new council president and vice president have started the year in Bellevue, where there also will be a change in the monthly meeting schedule.

Henry Lenard, Vencent Menosky and Matt Senvisky took the oath of office for Bellevue Council Monday night along with re-elected incumbents Kathy Coder and Lynn Tennant-Heffley. Also sworn in were the new mayor Paul Cusick, re-elected tax collector Joe Nolan, and his son, Michael Nolan, who was elected on write-in votes to become the borough’s auditor.


While Bellevue may have had the most contentious races in the 2013 general election, some of the most surprising results came in the neighboring boroughs of Emsworth and Ben Avon. All vote totals are unofficial until certified by the Allegheny County Elections Department.

Northgate School Board


Three Bellevue Council seats left undecided after the primary election will be filled by voters who go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

In the borough’s first ward, two seats are open, and only one incumbent is on the ballot.Current council member Kathy Coder is joined on the Republican ballot by Megan Swackhammer. The Democratic ticket features Henry Lenard and Mike Braunlich. In The third ward, incumbent Democrat Lynn Tennant Heffley is running against Republican Grant Saylor. first ward


It was time for the tables to turn at Bellevue Council’s meeting Tuesday evening, as council member Jane Braunlich decided to answer criticisms and correct statements by other elected officials.

Her response had an unexpected effect, as former public works supervisor Tony Barbarino challenged Braunlich’s husband to “step outside” during the meeting.

Braunlich’s statements were prompted by recent criticism from Mayor George Doscher that spanned issues going back to council’s failure to give his son a summer job last year.


Two members of Bellevue Council are asking to make a last minute revision to the borough’s paving program, with one of them maintaining that the plan sets a bad precedent that would require the borough to pave alleys in the future.

Both Mark Helbling and Kathy Coder asked at the pre-council meeting Tuesday whether money slated to pave certain streets could be switched to other projects before the contract is awarded at next Tuesday’s regular meeting. Helbling wanted to put off paving West Avenue in order to put the money towards paving the parking lot at Memorial Park.


The much-debated streetscape design feature known as the “bump-out” is back in the plans for the first phase of Bellevue’s main street revitalization project. Advocates for the feature appealed to Bellevue Council once again at council’s regular meeting on Tuesday, and received permission to add one set of bump-outs to the construction plans.