Former Duquesne police chief Richard S. Adams has been named to a vacant seat on city council, over the objections of Mayor Nickole Nesby.
At its June meeting, council voted 3-1 to name Adams to fill the seat vacated by the May 28 resignation of Fawn McDaniel. Nesby voted no.
Nesby had earlier made a motion to appoint William Danko to council. The motion failed 2-2, with Nesby and Councilman Tim Caldwell voting "yes" and Councilwoman Terra Henderson-Murphy and Councilwoman Elaine Washington voting “no.”
Danko “will bring new ideas to the city of Duquesne," Nesby said. "He can also bring experience as well as diversity to council."
During the sometimes heated meeting, Nesby said that before she ran for mayor, she confidentially told Adams that a neighbor was selling drugs from his home.
Nesby claimed that Adams then repeated the information to the neighbor.
In a video posted to YouTube after the meeting, Nesby alleged that other members of Duquesne city council are trying to force her out by appointing Adams to the vacant seat.
“When I found out that council appointed the same individual to the vacancy of council, I think it's a way to force me out,” she said. “I expressed my displeasure with their choice based on the information I provided them.”
In other business, George Dougherty Jr., Act 47 Coordinator for the City of Duquesne, told council he expects the administrative assistant/bookkeeper position to be filled by mid-July.
“There were 16 applications received by the June 21 deadline, interviews will begin shortly, we expect to make a hiring decision in about two weeks,” he said.
Dougherty said he is working with council and the mayor on a tax amnesty program.
He described the program as “a mechanism by which the city attempts to revitalize interest in city property by wiping clean (any) unpaid taxes, liens and fines.”
Nesby said the program is for anyone interested in purchasing property in the city for the purpose of improving the property and returning it to the tax rolls. “We have 938 abandoned properties and vacant lots denying the city tax revenue, our goal is to get them back on the tax rolls,” she said.
Council approved two motions in support of the extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s Mon-Fayette Expressway into the Duquesne-West Mifflin area.
One motion authorized the city to participate in cost-sharing 25 percent of the construction and design costs for relocating water lines, while another would give Duquesne Light access to do soil-testing on city-owned property in case electric power lines need to be relocated.
Council also approved the following:
- An ordinance creating tobacco-free zones at local parks and playgrounds;
- The purchase of a police car to replace one damaged in an accident, at a cost not to exceed $15,000, of which $10,000 will be paid by insurance;
- The purchase of a 2014 Chevy Impala, plus equipment, for the police department at a cost not to exceed $4,000, which will be reimbursed by the U.S. Department of Justice when funding becomes available;
- A motion to authorize the city engineer to bid for a storage igloo for road salt, as well as a salt truck, both purchases utilizing funding from the city's share of the state's liquid fuels tax; and
- A motion to authorize the interim city manager to write a letter expressing council's opposition to state House Bill 349. The bill would require all municipalities in the state to have at least two competing agencies to provide building code enforcement inspections.
Richard Finch Jr. is a freelance writer who covers news from McKeesport Area School District and North Versailles Twp. for Tube City Almanac. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Tube City Almanac is currently seeking a community reporter to cover Duquesne City Council each month. Writers are paid per story, plus mileage and expenses. Email Editor Jason Togyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published July 01, 2019.