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Decades-old drug plea makes Bridgeville councilman ineligible for office |

Decades-old drug plea makes Bridgeville councilman ineligible for office

Patrick Cloonan | Tribune-Review
Corey Sanders

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. on Friday said he notified Bridgeville Councilman Jason Sarasnick that a criminal conviction precludes him from continuing to serve.

Zappala said his office gave Sarasnick, 46, seven to 10 days to resign.

“My understanding is that he intends to resign,” Zappala said.

Sarasnick did not return messages seeking comment.

Allegheny County court records show Sarasnick pleaded guilty in 1992 to a felony charge of manufacture, delivering or possessing with intent to deliver a controlled substance, and a misdemeanor charge of intent to possess a controlled substance. He was sentenced to a minimum of 11 months’ confinement.

Article 2, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution bars anyone who’s been convicted of embezzling public money, bribery, perjury “or other infamous crime” from election to the state Legislature or “any office of trust or profit in this Commonwealth.” A 2008 state Supreme Court ruling in Commonwealth v. Griffin upheld that any felony could be considered an “infamous crime.”

Sarasnick, a Republican, was re-elected to council in November, having served since at least 2008, according to county election records. He was the top vote-getter among six candidates for three council seats, and he is president of Sarasnick Brothers Hardware on Washington Avenue in Bridgeville.

“I really like to get involved and try to make Bridgeville the best it can be — someplace special,” Sarasnick told the Tribune-Review before the primary in May. “I was born and raised in this town, and live and work here.”

The district attorney’s office said it looked into Sarasnick’s record based on a tip.

Zappala’s office recently informed Corey Sanders, 45, that he cannot take the McKeesport council seat to which he was elected in November because of a 23-year-old drug conviction.

“I think it is up to the electorate to decide who you want to represent you,” Zappala said, “but you have to follow the law.”

Bridgeville Mayor Pasquale DeBlasio and Manager Lori Collins could not be reached for comment.

The next Bridgeville council meeting is at 7 p.m. Feb. 8.

Staff writer Jason Cato contributed. Jim Spezialetti is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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