With four members boycotting the meeting, the remaining members of the Ross Township Vacancy Board voted last Friday to appoint Ippolito (Paul) Trilli as the commissioner from the 7th Ward.
Mr. Trilli, who works for Aramark at Heinz Field, was supported by vacancy board chairman George Tunney and Commissioners David Mikec, Grant Montgomery and Grace Stanko.
Commissioner Lana Mazur abstained "because I do not want to cause this township any trouble," she said.
Mr. Trilli was sworn in by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Kevin Sasinoski.
The other candidate, Patrick Mullin, told board members before the vote that he plans to appeal the decision.
The appointment was necessary because Gerald O'Brien resigned from the commission after being elected tax collector. Mr. O'Brien supported Mr. Mullin for the position.
The appointment became mired in controversy Dec. 16 when commissioners deadlocked with four voting for Mr. Trilli and four supporting Mr. Mullin. Commissioners and solicitor Bonnie Brimmeier argued about whether they could bring Mr. Tunney up from the audience to cast the deciding vote.
The four commissioners supporting Mr. Mullin -- Dan DeMarco, Chris Eyster, Peter Ferraro and John Sponcer -- walked out of the meeting, leaving commissioners without a quorum.
The commissioners wanted the appointment filled by the court, contending that Mr. Tunney's role on the vacancy board is a conflict of interest because he works for the township and also owns a business that employs Mrs. Mazur.
However, township officials noted that Mr. Tunney has served on the vacancy board for many years and his employment has never been an issue.
Mr. Montgomery said after the meeting that the township was just following its own procedures by convening the vacancy board.
"The township has a process in place to address these issues. We just used the current process," he said. "The reason we have a vacancy board is to address these issues."
Sandy Trozzo, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.