Allegheny County Council on Tuesday chose one of its original members to serve as its leader for the next two years.
Democrat Charles Martoni, 75, of Swissvale, was elected to the president's post in an 11-4 straight party-line vote.
Just prior to the balloting for president, nine council members began new four-year terms.
The only other council member nominated for the president's job was Republican Jan Rea of McCandless. Like Mr. Martoni, she was first elected to council in 1999.
"I think I need my head examined," Mr. Martoni joked when he was asked why he took the position. His full-time job is as president of the Boyce campus of Community College of Allegheny County. A graduate of the community college, he also earned degrees at Duquesne University and California University of Pennsylvania. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.
A longtime Swissvale resident, Mr. Martoni has held public offices for more than 40 years. He has been a school board member, borough councilman and mayor, in addition to serving on county council.
During his decades in office, he said he has grown accustomed to taking criticism, sometimes from people who are unwilling to serve themselves.
His first action last night was to appoint Councilman Nick Futules, D-Oakmont, as vice president. He asked council members to submit information to him on which committees they would like to serve.
He and his council colleague, John DeFazio, D-Shaler, are remembered by many older county residents for their careers as professional wrestling partners. Mr. Martoni's ring name was the "Masked Marvel," and Mr. DeFazio was "Jumpin' Johnny."
Members of council who were sworn into new terms on Tuesday were Mr. DeFazio; Mr. Futules; Ms. Rea; Barbara Daly Danko, D-Regent Square; Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park; Amanda Green Hawkins, D-Stanton Heights; Heather Heidelbaugh, R-Mt. Lebanon; John Palmiere, D-Baldwin Township; and William Robinson, D-Hill District.
Len Barcousky: email@example.com or 412-263-1159.