County council GOP elects new chair

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Republicans on Allegheny County Council, the minority party, will “work together to be a voice for good government,” said Sue Means, a Bethel Park Republican who was elected as chair of council’s GOP caucus Wednesday.

“County council must decide if they are a separate but equal branch of government or a department under the control of the county executive,” she said in an interview Thursday.

Ms. Means, who joined council in December, replaces Ed Kress, a Shaler Republican who served as caucus chair since January. Mr. Kress, in an interview Wednesday, said he believed some of his Republican colleagues voted him out due to his yes vote on leasing Deer Lakes Park for non-surface natural gas drilling, a proposal touted by county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, a Democrat.

Earlier this month, the plan passed 9 to 5. Mr. Kress and fellow Republican Tom Baker of Ross joined seven male Democrats in voting yes. Mr. Baker was not at the caucus meeting for the vote on chair.

Asked about Mr. Kress’s comment, Ms. Means said “that wasn’t it” but declined to comment further, other than to say: “It wasn’t a one-vote issue.”

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