Hopefuls for Gastgeb seat on Allegheny County Council meeting with Republican caucus

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Republicans on Allegheny County Council are interviewing candidates to fill a South Hills vacancy and expect to recommend a nominee for approval by council Tuesday.

Jan Rea, a McCandless resident who chairs the Republican caucus on the 15-member council, said she and fellow Republicans Heather Heidelbaugh -- an at-large councilwoman from Mt. Lebanon -- and Matt Drozd of Ross interviewed four candidates Thursday. They will interview four more tonight.

Ms. Rea declined to identify the candidates to replace Vince Gastgeb for the District 5 seat representing Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park and Bridgeville. She said she was happy so many expressed an interest in the position.

"They are really fine candidates," she said. "The reality of it is they all look good on paper, but you have to learn more by talking to them, and that is what we are doing."

Ms. Heidelbaugh said the candidates range from "no experience in government or politics to plenty." She's convinced they will have a "fine candidate."

Under the county's home rule charter, Republicans had 30 days to find a temporary replacement for Mr. Gastgeb, who resigned last month to take a marketing job at Pittsburgh International Airport. The full council must approve the temporary appointment, but it has never rejected a party recommendation.

The temporary replacement will serve only until the November election. Republicans and Democrats will choose candidates in the May primary to run for the remainder of Mr. Gastgeb's term, which runs through 2016. Ms. Rea said she expects whoever receives the temporary appointment to be a candidate for the permanent seat.

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Ed Blazina: eblazina@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2470.


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