Longtime councilman’s resignation leaves void in Blawnox |

Longtime councilman’s resignation leaves void in Blawnox

Mary Ann Thomas

Blawnox Council President Sam McNaughton has resigned from council after serving for more than two decades.

In a letter read during council’s meeting last week, McNaughton, 69, wrote that he was moving to Florida for personal reasons. McNaughton has a second home in Venice, Fla., and when he declares residency there, he cannot serve as a public official in the borough.

The resignation was given about a month after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Blawnox saying it violated the constitutional rights of two residents.

“He has served for 20 years and 10 1/2 months and has not received one penny,” said Blawnox Mayor Tom Smith. “He worked to better the services in the borough and to save money, especially with our water system.”

The borough water system was losing 30 percent of its water because of leaks. After developing a program to detect and repair the leaks, McNaughton reduced the system’s water loss to only 5 percent.

“That is unheard of,” Smith said.

McNaughton devised a plan to identify and collect from delinquent water customers, saving the borough more money, according to borough officials.

In an earlier interview, McNaughton attributed his background as a manager for United Parcel Service for his efficiency and work ethic.

His past two years were marked by arguments with several people over their right to speak and use recording devices at council meetings. The disagreements led to the pending federal lawsuit by the ACLU.

Council is requesting letters of interest to fill McNaughton’s seat through 2011. The final two years of his term will be up for election next year.

Letters should be sent by 1 p.m. Dec. 8 to the borough manager at Blawnox Borough, 76 Freeport Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.

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