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Cronyism looms over Coraopolis, says disgruntled GOP candidate

By Elizabeth Perry

Coraopolis resident Olesia Johnston accused the board of “cronyism” after they appointed Mark Scholl to the Ward 3 seat without mentioning the other candidates who applied or publicly debating their pros and cons.

Scholl has been a resident of Coraopolis for more than 40 years and he is employed at the financial firm Janney Montgomery Scott as first vice president of investments . Scholl later said during a phone interview that he had not been “proactive” in seeking out the seat.

Johnston, who won in the primary and is running as a Republican in the upcoming election, said she submitted a letter of interest on the night Chad Kraynyk vacated the seat, but said no one contacted her for an interview or took the opportunity to get to know her or her reasons for wanting to serve.

“What, is this your crony you appointed to the council? Did he volunteer, or were there other interests?” Johnston asked during the July 12 meeting.

Scholl was not present at the meeting where the board put forward only his name as a candidate before unanimously voting for him.

During an interview after the meeting, Johnston questioned the sincerity of Scholl’s interest in the position and expressed skepticism that he’d even volunteered for the seat.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon said via email that three candidates had expressed interest in the Ward 3 seat, but did not name the third person who submitted a letter of interest.

Scholl openly acknowledged he was sought out by borough officials.

“I know the borough manager and he approached me about it,” he said.

Scholl said McCutcheon’s suggestion appealed to him because he was a longtime Coraopolis homeowner and had not done anything public service-wise since he served on the hospital board for Ohio Valley Hospital from 2009 to 2016.

Scholl said he doesn’t have a specific agenda on the board, but believes his financial expertise will come in handy.

“I spoke to [Council member] Allison [Marine] and we had talked, I asked her the challenges they were dealing with,” Scholl said.

He does not know if he will run in November to extend his term.

“We’ll see how this goes,” Scholl said.


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