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For Duquesne City Councilman Derek Artim, the second time running for office was the charm.
On May 16, the Duquesne native ran unopposed in the Democratic primary and with no Republicans running, Artim — barring a successful write-in campaign by a challenger — is expected to win a full four-year term in November.
A corporate operations officer for Dollar Bank, Artim said he wanted to put his 21 years’ worth of retail banking experience to work in his hometown, which is preparing to exit Act 47 state financial oversight. The city has been under financially distressed status since 1991.
If all goes well, Duquesne could emerge from financial oversight in October.
Artim, who turned 47 this week, had a hand in crafting Duquesne’s budget for 2023, and is now looking toward next year’s spending plan, which will have a reduced stream of earned income tax funds.
“We will have to tighten purse strings,” he said. “The budget — you have to keep in line.” He’s worked with other city officials to obtain grants for a variety of projects, from road maintenance to razing abandoned and dilapidated homes.
“Hopefully, there will be a budgetary surplus” in the near future, Artim said. “We need to get back on the right track. Surpluses are good for emergencies.”
The son of long-time Duquesne stalwart Darlene Artim, Derek Artim ran for city council six years ago but did not win.
After a vacancy opened on council last year, Artim was appointed to the seat to serve until this year’s municipal election.
Before running this time, Artim talked to friends who were experienced in the political process. Artim said what he called an “old regime” had been holding back progress in the city for years, but he thinks things are on the right track now.
He said he’s glad to see that the city is getting some good publicity, but hopes that more positive events, community groups and churches receive positive attention. “All of that can attract more to the city,” Artim said. “The city can get more income.”
Artim also hopes that the Mon-Fayette Expressway, which is scheduled to have an exit in Duquesne, could boost the city’s economic fortunes and attract more development.
Although his mother has moved to Florida, Artim said he and his wife of 22 years, Amy, have no plans to move any time soon. An avid golfer, he said he does wish he could hit the links more often.
Artim’s status as Duquesne City Council’s newest member will be short-lived. Councilman Timothy Caldwell, who chaired the community and economic development committee, did not seek re-election this year. Caldwell has been absent from most of the regular council meetings held on the first Tuesday of each month.
No candidate ran to replace Caldwell in either the Republican or Democratic primary, so when Caldwell’s term ends, council will have to appoint a replacement.
Tom Leturgey is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh and the editor of KSWA Digest, the online news and features home of the Keystone State Wrestling Alliance. His work also appears in The Valley Mirror and other publications.
Originally published June 06, 2023.