Updated: Apr 21
By Chadwick Dolgos
Crafton’s Mayor Jim Bloom has decided to step down at the end of his term, opening up the position of mayor to someone new for the first time in 12 years.
Before serving as mayor, Bloom was a member of council for two terms and a police officer for more than 30 years.
Following his announcement, three potential candidates petitioned to get on the ballot and fill his shoes. Each candidate has their own unique experience they believe will serve them well if elected.
Councilman Fred Amendola said he's running for mayor to make sure the police department is cared for properly and to continue being the borough’s watchdog.
“I have always been sort of the hound dog, keeping an eye on some of the maneuverings of some of the council people,” Amendola said. “I’m going to continue to be the watchdog for the borough and guard against wasteful spending.”
Amendola is a life-time resident of Crafton who has dedicated his life to service in the community. Prior to serving on the council, Amendola was a police officer for 33 years and a constable in Crafton for more than 20 years.
Amendola is currently serving his second term on the council and is seeking a third if he’s not elected mayor.
“I think experience counts,” he said. “When it comes to experience, I’m far ahead of the game.”
One of the mayor’s responsibilities is overseeing the city’s police department. While Amendola believes each candidate is qualified for the position, he believes being a former police officer puts him at an advantage.
“I have concerns about making sure that the borough is maintaining the police department the way it is now,” he said. “People want to feel that they’re safe when they go to sleep at night.”
Vice President of the council Coletta Perry is an active member in the Crafton community and has served on the borough’s council for more than five years. She was also a member of the Historical Society, where she briefly served as president, as well as the library board.
In a last minute decision, she decided to run for mayor.
“We have a mayor that has been in office for 12 years and has decided not to run again,” she said. “With my experience, I felt that I was a good candidate.”
During her time on the council, Perry says she has been successful in mitigating disagreements and applying reason and rationale to their discussions.
“I consider myself the experienced voice of reason for Crafton,” Perry said. “I believe that through all the ups and downs of small-town municipal politics, I managed to steer the middle course.”
If elected, Perry hopes to continue to carry out the initiatives the current council is working on.
“I would like to see the work that’s being done and has been happening over the last couple of years, and I’d like to make sure that that continues,” she said.
Perry’s seat on council is the only seat not up for election, and she will continue to serve on the council if not elected mayor.
“I think there is a really excellent pool of people running for council, and I believe that I have a good relationship with council,” she said. “My experience on council can help council, regardless if I’m still sitting in the council or as mayor.”
After living in the Borough of Crafton for more than 17 years, retired insurance agent Mike Zuhl decided it was time to get more involved in his community.
“I thought it was time to get involved in local politics, more or less to encourage active participation in the community,” said Zuhl.
While this is not his first political campaign, Zuhl has never successfully held political office.
“I do have a political past, though I never won an election,” he said.
“I won primaries when I lived out in Bethel Park.”
While both the other candidates running for mayor are current members of council, Zuhl sees himself as a change for the community and a voice different from what has already been established on council.
“I have a pulse of what most neighbors like,” he said. “I want to listen to the voice of the people across political spectrums, including red and blue, renters and owners, younger and older.”
Regardless of the outcome of the election, Zuhl is hopeful for Crafton’s future and knows the borough will be in good hands.
“I’m happy and excited for all of us that are running, and I wish each candidate good luck,” he said. “Crafton will evolve and move forward no matter who wins the election.”