Hempfield Director's Reappointment Raises Ire

Article excerpt

The reappointment of lame-duck Hempfield Area Director Jeff Weber is turning into a campaign issue in the race for school board.

Democrat Barbara Italiano and Republican Joe Lutz said residents have complained to them during the campaign about the board's decision to appoint Weber after he lost bids for both nominations in the primary. Weber was selected to replace Tim Miller, who resigned in September.

Both candidates agree that the board's decision reflects indifference to what voters think.

"This was a debacle," Italiano said.

"I'm hearing so much about Weber's reappointment," Lutz said.

After his reappointment Oct. 12, Weber said he was pleased his colleagues have confidence in him. When contacted Monday, Weber said he had no further comment.

There are four seats open in the general election.

Incumbents Diane Ciabattoni, 62, Sonya Brajdich, 46, and Robert McDonald, 55, won the nominations of both parties in the primary. Italiano, 49, and Lutz, 46, were chosen by their respective parties when Tom Mastrorocco pulled out of the race after winning both party nominations.

Mastrorocco is employed by the federal government and was found in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars government workers from participating in partisan elections.

Italiano, an aide to former state Rep. Tom Tangretti, charged that Weber's selection "was orchestrated beforehand."

Italiano said there is not enough accountability of directors for their actions, and some decisions have cost the district financially. …