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May 20, 2013

Windber men vying for post

Two seeking seat being vacated by longtime district judge

— Two Windber men want to fill the seat being vacated in December by a longtime local district judge.

With now-Senior District Judge Joseph Cannoni’s term expiring at year’s end, attorney William E. Seger, 52, and William Telek, 56, a senior construction inspector for the turnpike, will face off in a May primary race that could repeat itself again this fall.

Both men have cross-filed for both tickets, aiming to get the Democratic and Republican nominations locked up this spring.

It means the race could be decided Tuesday if one of them is the top vote-getter on both ballots – and if not, the pair would face off again as party nominees in November for the seat.

Seger is touting his decades of legal experience as proof he’s qualified for the task.

He’s been an attorney for 26 years – handling criminal law, real estate, divorce matters and other cases, he said.

Seger is solicitor for Windber Municipal Authority, Windber Zoning Board, Windber Planning Commission and Somerset County Tax Claim Bureau.

“My promise is to be a fair and partial judge and look at each case based on their own merits,” Seger said.

“Magisterial court is the first encounter most citizens have with the judicial system,” Seger said. “I believe I can fairly and effectively make decisions that impact those citizens’ lives.”

Telek said he’s been considering a run for the seat for more than 20 years but never made the jump because his family and Cannoni’s are friends.

He said the district needs a compassionate judge – an outsider to serve as a go-between in cases that typically put law enforcement’s word against local defendants.

“It’s about fairness. There’s times where I think police around here are just harassing the local kids,” said Telek, noting oftentimes first-time offenders “deserve a break” in minor cases.

Telek, the son of former state Rep. William Telek, has tried unsuccessfully to run for several offices, including the state House of Representatives and Somerset County commissioner.

Telek said he will seek the required certification for the district judge post through the state Supreme Court’s Minor Judicial Education Board if he’s elected.

The magisterial district comprises a large portion of northern Somerset County and will include Benson, Central City, Hooversville, Paint and Windber boroughs – as well as the townships of Ogle, Paint and Shade next year.

The office handles cases ranging from minor traffic violations to felonies.

Seger is a Windber Area graduate who earned his law degree from Dusquesne in 1987.

He and his wife, Barbara, have one son.

Telek is a Richland grad who attended West Liberty College and Pitt-Johnstown.

Telek and his wife, Shari, have two children.

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