Braddock needs a mayor — and quickly.
After stumbling in the search to replace John Fetterman who resigned as Braddock mayor this month to be sworn in as Pennsylvania lieutenant governor on Tuesday, borough council has announced it will hold open auditions to fill the vacant seat.
A legal notice set for publication in the Post-Gazette in the coming days, a copy of which was provided to The Incline by Borough Manager Deborah Brown, says a special meeting will be convened at the borough building at 6 p.m. Jan. 29, with those interested in the position asked to give a five-minute presentation to council members explaining why they want to be mayor of the historic Mon River town of roughly 2,000 residents.
It’s an unusual step that comes after council’s prior attempt to fill the seat was derailed amid questions about the eligibility of two finalists and the vetting process itself.
In council’s regularly scheduled Jan. 8 meeting, members of the community and council rebelled against the process and finalists, with council member Robert Clanagan moving to table the vote and reopen the process to the public.
At that same meeting, council formally accepted Fetterman’s resignation, starting the clock on a 30-day window council has to independently find his successor.
Seven individuals had applied for the interim mayorship in the first round. A search committee arrived at two finalists — Isaac Bunn, a community organizer, and Pedro Valles, a Rankin police officer and state constable. But council faced questions at its last meeting about Bunn’s eligibility, given his out-of-borough voting record. It also faced questions about Valles and whether he was precluded from serving as mayor while also serving as a state constable.
Brown said she expects council will name the new mayor during the Jan. 29 special meeting, with the swearing-in likely to happen in February.
Anyone interested in auditioning on the 29th is asked to call and register with Brown by 4 p.m. Jan. 25. New applicants, meaning anyone who didn’t apply in the first round, need to submit a letter of interest and resume by that same deadline. The five applicants who applied in the first round but weren’t chosen as finalists do not need to re-submit those documents and will be given an opportunity to address council, Brown said.
Candidates must be residents of the borough and registered to vote in Braddock.
Whomever is appointed interim mayor of Braddock will have to run to retain the seat in the May primary and November general election.