By Jamie Wiggan
With the general election still six months out, Stowe’s municipal manager Nick Martini is all but confirmed to take over as the magistrate for Pittsburgh’s westernmost neighborhoods.
Martini is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and no Republican candidate has emerged to contest him in November’s general election. Absent unforeseen upsets, he will be sworn into office in January 2022, replacing his father Randy Martini, who has occupied the courtroom since 2006.
“[My father was] very big on giving back to the communities—that and public service was instilled in me from a young age,” Martini said.
The seat he’s running for – District 05-3-13 – is based in the West End Village and services a swath of city neighborhoods running from Esplen to Banksville.
Martini credits his time at Stowe with rounding out a career that began with teaching and also included several years as an administrator with the City of Pittsburgh.
“Being a municipal manager… you see a lot of different things, and you see at this level, too,how the district judges offer fines or how different judgments on cases have an impact on municipality”
For their part, Stowe commissioners say they wish him well and are glad to have ample notice of his expected departure.
“Given the amount of time we have, it will allow us to be more selective on who we chose,” said Vice President Darrell Chestnutt.
“Other than losing Nick, it’s an ideal situation.”
Chestnutt said the board hasn’t yet taken public action but discussed informally plans to begin the advertising process during the summer and have the new manager shadow Martini for several weeks before he hands over the reins.
Martini, who like his father doesn’t have a legal background, said he ran for magistrate in order to have a more direct impact on the community he grew up in. He remains a resident of Crafton Heights.
“It’s an important office that’s the first level of the judiciary,” he said. “A variety of things come through here.”
Among other responsibilities, magistrates oversee traffic citations, landlord-tenant cases, civil hearings, truancy reports and decide whether a criminal complaint should move up to the county’s common pleas court.
Rather than holding to fixed positions, Martini said it’s important to hear each case in its context.
“Everything’s a case-by-case basis,” he said. "Everyone is entitled to a fair and unbiased hearing, and that is exactly what anyone who enters my courtroom will get."
Martini described himself as an advocate of public service as an alternative to minor offenses and said he wants to batten down on truancy.
“Truancy hits home a lot with me; I’ve seen the effects of children not going to school,” said Martini, a former social sciences teacher for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“We have to stress the importance of them going to school and becoming productive members of society.”