Thursday, March 03, 2005

News Release: Candidates and County Council do NOT mix, as per the county charter.

From: Mark Rauterkus,, 412 298 3432
Candidate for PA Senate (42nd district),
108 South 12th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

Date: March 3, 2005

Mark Rauterkus, a Libertarian candidate for Pennsylvania Senate, has called for the immediate resignation of an opponent, Wayne Fontana, Democrat, a member on the Allegheny County Council. Days ago, Rauterkus willingly congratulated Fontana for his weekend victory in the Democratic party nomination. Fontana joins Rauterkus and Michael Diven, R, on the ballot in the special election slated for May 17, 2005. However, the message has changed to outrage in recent days as an expected resignation from County Council has not transpired from Fontana despite the explicit mentions within the County Charter.

"Wayne Fontana needs to resign his seat on county council immediately, said Rauterkus."

Allegheny County's Charter states clearly that members of the County Council must resign as soon as they become a candidate for another office.

Rauterkus is networking with phone calls, emails and his blog mentions that request the resignation quickly for a number of reasons for the good of Allegheny County residents.

-- Tell the power-hungry official, Wayne Fontana, that his time on council is finished. Tell him and others in his party that the resignation is expected now.

-- Remind the media of this governmental issue and help to insist that want-a-be State Senators should have a keen respect for the law.

-- Tell others who reside in that county council district that good citizen candidates are needed for the special election to fill Fontana's seat.

The special election process can begin as soon as Fontana resigns. The longer Fontana squats on the power and holds onto the seat, then a rightful replacement might be delayed. Rather than getting a newly elected member of County Council in May, 2005, a hand-picked replacement might sit until January, 2006.

This provision of the charter is disliked by many on County Council. Council members tried to change it twice in the past. At the ballot box, a majority Allegheny County voters made known their desire to uphold this rule, and for good reason.

Everyone knows that Fontana has been campaigning for this Senate seat for months. He can't do his important job on County Council, such as handling the assessment mess, while he is occupied with other tasks. Furthermore, the process of being out in the community among the issues with the other candidates gets discounted too while Fontana sits on council.

Rauterkus said, "Fontana is in no-man's land -- between a future campaign and place in history. I expected him to push the ethical limits and resign Monday, March 1. I was shocked that he resumed his role on council at Tuesday's meeting, March 2. Every minute of additional delay goes without an excuse and serves to break the trust with the people throughout the county." Rauterkus said, "People don't appreciate politicians who act on self-interests and make power-grabs without accountability."


Thomas Leturgey said...

Fontana cannot be allowed to set a bad precedent.

The voters have spoken, I believe twice, on this issue. County Council members must resign if they intend to pursue another, high-paying position.

Thomas Leturgey said...

Mark, you are correct. This is really a bell-weather moment for the still-new Home Rule Charter in Allegheny County.

If Fontana is allowed to continue to stump for another post while still holding onto his County Council seat, a bad precedent will have been set.

The voters spoke, I believe twice, on this issue. County Council members must give up their seats when pursing another, full-time, highly paid office.