Photo submitted by Shazer family Newly-appointed Coraopolis Councilmember Jason Shazer with his wife, Alexa, and children, Reese, Callum and Crew.
By Dianne Stuckman
A final attempt to fill an empty seat on the Coraopolis council yielded a unanimous vote and a new candidate at the July 7 council meeting.
Jason Shazer, a lifelong Coraopolis resident, was approved to fill the 3rd ward seat in a vote that came just before council’s July 9 deadline for filling the vacancy created when Lucinda Wade resigned.
“I'm overjoyed with this opportunity.” Shazer said. “My focus is on what we can do for the younger generation in town.”
The decision brought dissent from two community members in the audience, Paul Leitner and his wife, Tiffany Battaglini. As the meeting wrapped up, Leitner questioned why his wife, owner of the Coraopolis-based Tiffany Battaglini Insurance Agency and a community volunteer, was not nominated for the position.
“She is the one who should be sitting up there,” he said. “Why are there no females up there?”
In a phone conversation after the meeting, Council President David Pendel said he voted in favor of Shazer and was prepared to nominate him had Pitassi not done so.
“I voted for who I felt most comfortable with,” Pendel said. “It has nothing to do with race, sex or political affiliation.”
Pendel noted that all board members are Democrats and Shazer is a Republican. He said Shazer is a third-generation Coraopolis resident, married, home owner and volunteer T-Ball coach.
“In my mind, he checked all the boxes,” he said.
Filling the seat for the 3rd ward has been a month-long contentious process.
On June 9, Councilwoman Wade, the only woman on the board, resigned. She moved within Coraopolis Borough but outside the 3rd ward, requiring her to step down from her post.
That same evening, Councilman Cardimen nominated Danielle Burnette to fill the vacancy. The board voted 3-3, needing a majority to pass. Pendel, one of the three opposed to her appointment, later explained that the board hadn't discussed the candidate before the meeting and he wasn't expecting a vote that evening.
In efforts to fill the vacancy a special meeting was called for June 16, where again, Burnette was nominated by Cardimen. No one seconded the movement and the motion was denied.
“I am not going to second a motion behind nominating somebody that I do not know,” Councilman Chad Kraynyk explained that evening.
Shazer, 37, was raised in Coraopolis. He graduated from the Cornell School District in 2002 and from Thiel College in 2006. Shazer works for Real Estate Investment Trust in Canonsburg.
He and his wife, Alexa, have three young children under six years of age.
His appointed term expires at the end of the year, but he indicated he intends to run for re-election.
”Absolutely,” he said. “I like to be involved.”
Shazer will be sworn in prior to the July 17 meeting.