Ross commissioner O'Brien resigns for tax collector job

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Ross commissioners will seek letters from residents of Ward 7 who want to join them.

Gerald O'Brien, Ward 7 commissioner for 14 years, resigned Monday night.

Mr. O'Brien will become the tax collector in January, and said he needs the additional time to prepare for his new job.

"I made several pledges. To keep these promises, I must make some radical changes that will take a substantial amount of work," he said.

The tax office in Ross fell into disarray when the former treasurer, Donna Carey, became ill. She resigned last year, and commissioners appointed Jordan Tax Service an as interim collector.

Mr. O'Brien said he enjoyed his time as a commissioner.

"I never looked at being a commissioner as a job. I considered it an honor to serve you, the people," he said.

He said that his resignation was effective when he finished reading the resignation letter. When he was done reading, he got up from the commissioners' table and took a seat in the audience.

During the section of the agenda for public comments, he urged commissioners to appoint a Democrat to the seat, noting that two-thirds of residents of his ward are Democrats.

The township will accept applications from Ward 7 residents until 5 p.m. Monday. Commissioners will vote on the appointment Dec. 16. If they cannot agree, the issue will go to the township's vacancy board. If that board fails to appoint someone, the issue will be decided by Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Commissioners praised Mr. O'Brien for his contributions.

"We had our differences, there's no doubt about that," said Dan DeMarco of Ward 1. "But you have done well, and you have quite a task ahead of you with that tax collector position."

Peter Ferraro of Ward 8 praised Mr. O'Brien's conscientiousness, and commission Chairman Grant Montgomery and Vice Chairman David Mikec noted his ability to make the others laugh. "We're going to be hard-pressed to replace the entertainment value of these meetings," Mr. Mikec said.

Sandy Trozzo, freelance:

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