Council struggles to appoint new member
By Garret Roberts
After two attempts to appoint a new member to the borough’s council, an empty seat remains for Coraopolis’s third ward.
Councilman Robb Cardimen has moved to appoint Danielle Burnette to fill the empty seat for the 3rd Ward at both the council’s June 9 meeting and its special meeting on June 16.
Burnette has failed to pass the vote on both occasions.
Burnette is also running as the Republican opponent to council’s Chad Kraynyk in the upcoming election cycle.
After expressing concerns over not knowing or meeting the candidate before the vote on June 9, council came to a tied vote to appoint Burnette. With Mayor Shawn Reed out of town on business during the meeting, the tie could not be broken until the special meeting on June 16.
When councilman Cardimen made the motion to appoint Burnette to the empty seat again at the special meeting, no other council members seconded his movement. Without the support of another council member, the motion was denied.
The council once again based its decision on not meeting the candidate before making the vote, saying that they did not want to be rash in their decision.
“Ultimately, I have not met this person,” said Kraynyk. “I am not going to second a motion behind nominating somebody that I do not know.”
Councilman Cardimen expressed his grievances with the vote, saying the council was taking political and gender factors into account for their decision.
“I think it’s an abomination that you guys are discriminating against this person either because she’s a woman or she’s a republican,” said Cardimen. “You’re not appointing this girl to fill a vacancy, you don’t have anyone else to fill that vacancy, I think you guys are very short-sighted and playing politics.”
After the meeting was adjourned, Burnette addressed the remaining council members to defend her nomination. She currently works as an attorney as well as holding similar local government positions in the past, and feels her skills make her a worthy candidate for the seat.
She also addressed the concerns of council members not knowing her, which she says is untrue. Burnette detailed the interactions that she had with members at Meet the Candidate events in the borough, as well as personal interactions with candidates beyond political events.
“I will be attending more [meetings] virtually and would love to attend more in person,” said Burnette. “If you make another motion, I would love to have your nomination.”
With the lack of an appointed council member, a new nomination must be proposed at the next council workshop meeting.
The empty seat must be filled by July 9 at the latest.
The shift in personnel comes after councilwoman Lucinda Wade resigned from the council on June 9. While still a Coraopolis resident, a recent relocation from the 3rd Ward of the borough caused her to forfeit her seat.
“I am grateful for having the opportunity to serve on the council for the past year,” Wade said in her letter to the council president.
“I would like to thank the residents who have supported me, my fellow council members, borough manager Ray McCutcheon and Mayor Reed.”
Wade’s resignation letter also said she would continue to be active in the Coraopolis community through various local non-profits, such as the Coraopolis Youth Creations, where she serves as executive director.
In other news:
The Coraopolis Police Department has made progress in the investigation of a recent string of car thefts, arresting one individual after videos were sent to the station of them testing doors on cars. Chief Ronald Denbow advised citizens to keep their cars locked, noting that the culprits were not local.
The Coraopolis Memorial Library will begin a search for part-time employees to assist in daily operations around the library. Advertising for the positions will be posted to the SavvyCitizen app and the borough’s social media pages.
The Coraopolis Council approved a resolution to take possession of the abandoned property at 617 7th Ave. The borough has confirmed there is a buyer for the house.