Jeannette finance chair resigns, council looks to fill seat
Jeannette City Council is looking for a new member as finance chairman Bill Bedont has resigned because his family is relocating to Ohio.
Bedont has been on council since he was appointed to fill a vacant seat in October 2011 and was then elected to a four-year term that began in January 2012.
“It was a tough decision to leave, but it’s a great opportunity for me and for my family,” Bedont said. “I will always have the City of Jeannette in my heart. I want to thank the people of Jeannette. They’ve been great to me and my family. It was a tough choice, but it was too big to pass up.”
He holds an MBA in management specialization, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics. He has been in management at Westinghouse for several years.
Bedont has used his math and budget-building skills in his time as finance chairman and feels the “city is set up to be successful. I enjoyed my time and we made big strides in the three years I was on council. I would personally like to thank all the people who supported me.”
Most recently, Bedont has been advocating an increase in the Earned Income Tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent.
This increase is also supported by the city’s new manager Bruce Jamison and passed its first vote last month by a 4-1 margin. The second vote was scheduled for last night, but due to Bedont’s resignation the meeting was postponed until next week. Council will meet at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 for the final vote.
Bedont wrestled with his decision to resign prior to the vote.
“This is the second reading for the EIT (increase). It’s the right thing to do, but morally it’s not right to vote to raise taxes (here) and then move out of state. I’m not going to vote on something that’s not going to affect me but will affect the city.
“In my resignation letter, I wrote that I’m hoping council sees the big picture and does what’s right for the city.”
“I think the city will miss Mr. Bedont,” solicitor Scott Avolio said.
Avolio said he will suggest that council accept Bedont’s resignation at the Nov. 19 meeting. Bedont’s unexpired term runs through the end of 2015.
Avolio said plans to advise council to advertise the opening and accept letters for about three weeks from city residents interested in the seat.
Interviews of interested parties during public sessions could take place in December. Council could appoint a new member by a majority vote by the end of the year, Avolio said.
The state Third Class Cities Code requires that an appointment be made to a vacant seat within 30 days.
Interested candidates must be 18 or older and a city resident for at least the last year, according to the code.
In the event council cannot agree on an appointment, Avolio said 10 citizens or a council majority may petition Westmoreland County’s president judge to select a new member.
Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at [email protected] or 724-838-5154.
Renatta Signorini contributed to this report.