The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

October 8, 2012

Kudos to the mayor

City leader willing to step into vacancy

— We applaud Tom Trigona for his community spirit and his willingness to step up and serve the public.

The retired Johnstown schoolteacher has been serving as the city’s mayor and last week appointed himself to the board of the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority.

He replaces Vice Chairman Raymond “Archie” Arcurio, who died in June, creating a vacancy in a position that runs to Jan. 1, 2015.

While some people apparently raised their eyebrows at Trigona appointing himself, there is nothing illegal about the move: The power to appoint a person to the board belongs solely to the mayor. No approval vote is needed from the board.

And it was not precedent-setting. In 1993, the late Herb Pfuhl Jr. appointed himself to the board as he was leaving the mayor’s office.

“I talked with the lawyers and they said that it’s legal,” Trigona told our Dave Sutor. “I talked with some friends and they said you’d make a good appointee, so I did it.”

We also believe he is a good fit for the office, as does Monsignor Raymond Balta, authority chairman. He told Sutor he believes there are benefits to Trigona joining the five-member board.

“I think he understands the needs of the city and the redevelopment authority ... I think the big advantage will be to have a good flow of information between the city and authority,” Balta said.

We agree, although the move does create a possible conflict. Trigona not only serves, but he also fills any vacancies that should arise, opening a board-control issue.

We certainly wouldn’t expect that from the affable Trigona.

While Trigona does receive a $3,500 salary for serving as mayor, the redevelopment position is strictly volunteer.

The three other members of the board are Karen Varga, M. John Mavrodis and Brian Vuletich, whose willingness to serve is admirable.

The redevelopment authority oversees the sewage operations in addition to leading urban-renewal efforts. It’s headed by longtime Executive Director Ronald W. Repak.

We thank Trigona for volunteering to serve and wish him well in his additional duties.

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