Jenko sole applicant for vacant Latrobe council seat |

Jenko sole applicant for vacant Latrobe council seat

Jeff Himler
Ralph Jenko, applicant for a vacant Latrobe City Council seat, addresses the board at its meeting on Nov. 26, 2018.

Latrobe resident Ralph Jenko wants to help his city continue to thrive and believes he could best do that as a member of council.

Jenko, the sole applicant to fill a council vacancy, presented the panel Monday with his reason for wanting the seat and the traits he would bring to the role. He serves on the city’s zoning hearing board.

“There are very few circumstances that actually go before the zoning board,” he said. “I have more interest in being involved in management of the city, and I’d like to be part of the team that goes forward.”

Council is expected in December to appoint a replacement for Jack Murtha, who resigned because of a planned move out of the city. The appointment would extend through December 2019.

Jenko, 68, fell short in his bid for a council seat in the 2017 municipal election.

During his campaign at that time, he said budgeting and planning skills he developed in 43 years working at Kennametal could help council control spending.

He said city leaders must continue to support redevelopment of run-down housing and efforts to attract and maintain businesses downtown.

“I’m really looking forward to helping the businesses in the community become more closely aligned with what’s going on in the community, and making it a partnership,” Jenko said Monday.

A retired information technology manager at Kennametal, Jenko holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in business administration.

Jenko worked in various capacities at Kennametal, “starting off with chemistry, going into business, doing finance work and project management, and I ended up as an IT person,” he said.

He has had a long association with Latrobe. He noted his wife MaryLee is a native of the town.

In 2009, he said, “When the opportunity came up, we moved back into the city itself.”

Jenko, who was raised in the Mon Valley, noted, “It’s not the way I left it when I was growing up as a kid.”

In comparison, he said, “Latrobe is one of those few places that are continuing to thrive. Latrobe seems to be this little alcove of Norman Rockwell and a little bit of Hallmark Channel thrown in on the side, and I’d like to see it continue for a little bit longer.”

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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