Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Candidates Line Up for Vacant Seat on Council Appointee to Be Selected March 20

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Candidates Line Up for Vacant Seat on Council Appointee to Be Selected March 20

Article excerpt

Six Wilkinsburg residents are vying for a vacant seat for council in the Second Ward.

The vacancy was created by the departure of Patrick Shattuck, a member of council since 2014 who resigned in January because he relocated to Vermont.

Council is expected to appoint someone to fill the vacant seat on March 20. That person will serve out the rest of Mr. Shattuck's term that expires Dec. 31.

Five applicants, including Shannon Watson, Michael Johnson, Andre Scott, Ralph Watson and Ariel Haughton made presentations to council on Feb. 20 outlining their reasons why they believe they are suited to fill the vacancy.

Ernest Sharif also applied for the seat, but did not attend the meeting.

Council president Pamela Macklin said in her years serving on council that she had never seen so many applicants for a vacancy.

"That says a lot about what's going on in Wilkinsburg," Ms. Macklin said.

Ms. Watson, a lifelong South Avenue resident and mental health therapist, said she wants to serve on council to "have the opportunity to speak on behalf of my neighbors."

"I'd like to have a say in some of the things that are happening," she said, adding she would like to make an impact on her community.

Ms. Watson is a volunteer at Community Forge, which is in the former Johnston Elementary School building, and provides outreach to the community. She also volunteers her time and knowledge as a mental health therapist to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr. Johnson, a member of the Wilkinsburg school board, said he was prepared to step down from his seat on the board and "join you on council."

Mr. Johnson said he has been a Wilkinsburg resident for 41 of his 42 years. He has served on the school board for the past seven years and runs a help center for area youth at Community Forge. He also helps with community dinners and toy drives for those in need during the holidays. …

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