North Franklin authority appointment questioned

  • By Scott Beveridge January 9, 2013

A North Franklin Township authority will meet with local supervisors and school officials in an attempt to resolve questions raised about a new appointee to the board in an attempt to resolve the issue out of court.

The North Franklin Township Recreation and Business Improvement Authority agreed Wednesday to hold the meeting within 30 days after the authority solicitor questioned the validity of the township’s new appointment to the board, Leslie Alexas. Alexas walked out of the authority meeting while threatening to take the matter to Washington County Court before realizing the parties were going to discuss her appointment.

“I’ll also ask my attorney to file the appropriate papers,” Alexas said as she left the meeting in the North Franklin Township Building.

The five-member authority was created in 1998 to collect a business tax to pay off debts associated with improvements around Washington Crown Center mall and the nearby home of the Washington Wild Things Frontier League baseball team. Washington County appoints one member to the board, and two each are selected by the township and Trinity Area School District.

The issue of appointments resulted in a 2011 settlement between the township and Trinity that laid out the schedule of when authority board terms expire, said Gary Sweat, authority solicitor.

Sweat contends that the township’s decision Jan. 7 to replace authority member Bill Loar with Alexas was invalid because Loar’s term in office doesn’t expire until December 2013.

“You cannot remove a board member until the term is up. That’s the law,” Sweat said.

Authority member Leo Trich Jr. suggested bringing the interested parties together to avoid another lawsuit.

The township’s solicitor, Dennis Makel, agreed, saying it would be best to reach and out-of-court resolution to “decide what’s best for the community.”

Scott Beveridge has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1986 after previously working at the Daily Herald in Monongahela. He is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s fine arts and art education programs and Duquesne University’s master of liberal arts program. He is a 2004 World Affairs journalism fellow.


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