New borough manager hired in Braddock

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Braddock council voted Tuesday night to hire its third borough manager in less than a year.

In December, the council hired Tim DiSalvio after the man hired to fill the job in November opted not to take the position. Prior to that, Braddock's former borough manager, Ella B. Jones, pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $170,000 from the borough in March 2011 and was sentenced to probation.

Mr. DiSalvio resigned June 4.

On Wednesday, council voted to hire Maria McCool as borough manager. Ms. McCool is "no stranger to Braddock," said council Vice President George Gilmore, who ran the meeting in President Tina Doose's absence.

Mr. Gilmore said Ms. McCool has lived in the Woodland Hills School District for more than 30 years and has a master's in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Before assuming the Braddock post, Ms. McCool was Woodland Hills' communications director.

In other business, Mayor John Fetterman addressed rumors about the Braddock Employment and Training Center losing its funding and closing.

"I can say with absolute, definitive authority that is not the case," he said.

Mr. Fetterman said Allegheny County Human Services Director Mark Cherna assured him the center would not close, although there may be some staff changes.

Council members also squabbled about borough issues ranging from parking signs to a permit for a block party.

A resident at 633 Corey Ave. requested to restrict parking in front of her house at specific times because she has a disabled child who requires special transportation. Councilman William Zachery requested the resident provide the specific times before approving the parking signs. Council voted unanimously to table the motion.

Marlon Austin then addressed council regarding two permits he was denied. The first was for a water ice stand his son intends to run. Ms. McCool told Mr. Austin he couldn't run the stand out of his house because it's in a residential zone.

Mr. Fetterman preached common sense; the water ice stand was tantamount to a child's lemonade stand.

"It's teaching entrepreneurship," he said. "It's teaching responsibility."

Council members agreed he needed a different permit than the one he applied for.

Mr. Fetterman suggested council waive the permit in this instance and told council he'd pay the permit fee himself if need be.

Borough solicitor Falco Muscante cautioned against waiving permits and fees because it could set a precedent. He suggested council re-examine the permitting ordinance and create a sliding scale so children can set up concession stands without being charged a fee for a permit, but that could take up to two months.

Mr. Austin also sought a permit for a block party to celebrate graduates of Woodland Hills High School. Again, he was denied a permit. Ms. McCool said organizations can be granted permits for block parties but individuals cannot, because of insurance issues. Council agreed to approve the permit for the block party pending a review by Mr. Muscante.

Borough resident Jim Kidd chided council for arguing over the permit for the block party.

"He wants to do something that's positive for the kids," Mr. Kidd said. "You should be encouraging it rather than discouraging it."

Mr. Kidd also questioned the status of security cameras being installed throughout the borough. Mr. Fetterman told him the wiring is done and the borough is waiting for final approval from Duquesne Light on the placement of poles for the cameras. He said the project should be completed within two weeks.

Sarah Cobbs, who lives on Yew Way, brought concerns to council for months regarding a wall falling down across the street from her home. The crumbling wall crushed her car and continues to litter the road with large rocks.

She said someone began dismantling the wall one day and was gone the next. Now, debris from the stalled demolition litters the alley.

Borough engineer Joe Dursa said Mr. DiSalvio was handling the issue and instructed Ms. Cobbs to speak with Ms. McCool.

He added that two abandoned homes on Yew Way are scheduled to be torn down this year.


Annie Siebert: or 412-263-1613. Twitter: @AnnieSiebert. First Published June 14, 2012 5:00 AM


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