The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 9, 2013

Voters petition court to fill council vacancy

Kathy Mellott

EBENSBURG — As anticipated, the Cambria County court has been asked to resolve a stalemate over the appointment of a Johnstown City Council member.

Three city residents petitioned the court to appoint Frederick B. Mickel to fill the late Ann Wilson’s unexpired term, which runs through the end of the year. It was not known Tuesday when action will be taken on the petition.

Mickel, of the 100 block of Worth Street, who said he is in his early 70s, said Tuesday he is seeking the post because Wilson was a friend and they shared the same political philosophy.

“We talked a lot,” Mickel said. “We understood the politics of the city and of the county.”

Wilson, a longtime council member and chairwoman of the Cambria County Republican Committee, died Feb. 19.

City Council last week split 3-3 between Mickel and Angela Gorzelsky.

A vote the previous week was 3-3 between Mickel and Anthony “Red” Pinizotto.

State law gives a governing body 45 days to fill the vacancy. After that, the council or any five voters in the municipality can petition the court to name a replacement.

The petition asking President Judge Timothy Creany to appoint Mickel contains the signatures of three city residents: Robert L. Christ, of the 100 block of Worth Street, Linda J. Christ, also of the 100 block of Worth Street, and Andrew M. Schneck, of Aspen Woods Lane.

The petition lists two others as references: Cyndi Ahlborn of the 400 block of Bedford Street and Peter Vizza of the 300 block of Fronheiser Street. Vizza is a councilman who supported Mickel in votes on filling the vacancy.

Mickel said he is a Republican and owns a home in the Eighth Ward. A retired banker, he has more than 40 years of experience in finance and management. He works in Greater Johns­town School District helping as an SAT prep course instructor.

His resume lists civic service including past chairman of the Greater

Johns­town Committee and Greater Johnstown Chamber of Commerce. He also served on board of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Victim Services Inc., Greater Johns­town YMCA and in a leadership capacity for a number of other agencies.

Mickel said he has no political ambitions other than serving out Wilson’s term.

“I am not a politician. I have no desire to be a politician,” he said, adding he doubts he would seek election to a full term on council.

Mickel was surprised by the conflict his nomination created.

“When I first got into this, I didn’t expect to cause all this trouble,” he said.



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