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After two months without holding a meeting, McKeesport City Council last week set its schedule for the coming year --- and appointed a councilmember to fill a vacant seat.
LuEthel Nesbit will fill the four-year term to which local businessman Corry Sanders was elected. (Correction added, 5 p.m.)
Nesbit is the longtime executive director of the Steel Valley Opportunities Industrialization Center and is now at ACTION-Housing. A vice-president of the McKeesport branch of the NAACP, Nesbitt also serves on the board of the McKeesport Housing Authority and the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.
In February, an Allegheny County judge ruled that Sanders was ineligible to hold elected office. Acting on a petition filed by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., Judge Joseph James ruled that Sanders' 1993 guilty plea to felony drug charges made him ineligible to hold elected office.
Sanders, owner of Kool Kutz, and his attorney are seeking a pardon from Gov. Tom Wolf.
Council did not hold its regular meetings in January or February as it waited for a ruling from Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on Sanders' eligibility.
Mayor Michael Cherepko said he nominated Nesbit to fill the vacancy after having discussions with members of the public and city council.
Councilwoman Fawn Walker-Montgomery voted against Nesbit's appointment. Walker-Montgomery, who is seeking a Republican nomination to the 35th Legislative District seat currently held by state Rep. Marc Gergely, called Nesbit "a dedicated community leader" but said she had not been included in any of the discussions about possible replacements for Sanders.
In other business:
- Councilman Richard Dellapenna Jr. was re-elected president of city council, while Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was elected vice president.
- Annette James was appointed city clerk for 2016 and 2017. James has served in the position since Patricia Williams retired in 2015.
- Big's Sanitation of Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County, was awarded the city's garbage-hauling and recycling contract for 2016. Big's has been collecting the city's trash and recycling since January 2015. It also collects trash in neighboring Port Vue and North Versailles Twp.
- Ferree Kennels was awarded the contract to provide animal control services in 2016.
- Lockhart All Seasons Service of Dravosburg was awarded a one-year contract for weed and vegetation control.
- The Pittsburgh edition of the Tribune-Review was named the city's official newspaper for legal advertising in 2016. The Tribune-Review replaces the city's longtime official newspaper, the McKeesport Daily News, which was owned by the Tribune-Review but was shut down at the end of 2015.
- Council adopted Allegheny County's 2015 hazard mitigation plan, which sets procedures to be followed by the city and county in the event of an emergency such as a flood or hazardous materials spill.
Correction, Not Perfection: Under McKeesport's home rule charter, Nesbit will fill her council seat until the 2019 election, City Administrator Matt Gergely said. This story incorrectly said she would serve until 2017.
Originally published March 17, 2016.