Munhall hires new borough manager

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Munhall, which has struggled to put itself on firm financial footing since a former borough manager quit suddenly last summer, has hired a veteran local governmental official away from Crafton to serve as a permanent replacement.

The borough council unanimously voted to appoint Robert Callen, who is presently Crafton's borough manager, to the job at Wednesday night's council meeting. Mr. Callen starts in Munhall on April 14.

Mr. Callen, who refused to comment about his appointment after the meeting, was selected from a field of candidates assembled over the past four months with the help of Michael Foreman, a local government policy specialist with the Governor's Center for Local Government Services, council President Dan Lloyd said.

"He's the whole package," Mr. Lloyd said. "From budgets to pension plans to streets and roads, this guy's experienced. This is exactly what we need. He's the right guy at the right time."

Mr. Callen has ties to the community and was a former executive at the Steel Valley Council of Governments before working in municipal planning for Duquesne Light and in local government consulting for RDM, a Pittsburgh consulting firm, Mr. Lloyd said. His salary will be $70,000, not including benefits.

Mr. Galla and council members have traded accusations over who is responsible for the desperate straits the borough of about 11,400 found itself in at the beginning of the year, when the town was searching for private financing to avoid layoffs in its police and public works departments.

Because of uncompleted audits, Munhall, which has a 2014 budget of about $6.8 million, lost about $354,000 in Regional Asset District sales tax money for the first two quarters of 2014 and the last two quarters of 2013 and was unable to secure a traditional tax-anticipation loan from a bank. The borough also faced additional pension contributions to make up for inadequate payments in prior years.

However, because of residents paying tax bills early, the borough will not need the private loan the council authorized and will have just under $1 million on hand by the end of March after making payroll, officials have said.

Robert Zullo: or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo. First Published March 19, 2014 4:42 PM

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