Monongahela attorney Blane A. Black announced Thursday he will be seeking election to one of two vacancies on the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in this year’s election.
Black, 56, a Charleroi native, has maintained a general law practice in the Mon Valley for more than 31 years. His cases have taken him to not only Washington County, but all surrounding counties as well.
As president of the Washington County Bar Association, Black said he’s “very much concerned about the fact that our court is now operating with only four judges instead of our allotted six.”
He added, “I know and understand the importance of having our full complement of qualified and experienced jurists to handle the administration of civil and criminal justice here in Washington County.”
The court’s two judicial openings are a result of this year’s retirements of judges Janet Moschetta Bell and Paul Pozonsky.
Black said the court is in desperate need of people with the proper judicial temperament and experience to step in once elected and assume a full share of a challenging judicial workload.
“Most likely, the new judges will have to assume duties dealing with family-related and criminal matters. Having raised four children of my own and with my general practice background, I will not need any on-the-job training,” he stated.
A resident of South Strabane Township, Black is a 1974 graduate of Charleroi Area High School. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1978, and then received his law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1981.
He serves on the county Board of Viewers, has participated in the court’s Civil Mediation Program and has been appointed by the court to preside over civil minitrials. He is solicitor for the Washington County Department of Tax Revenue and handles all tax assessment and tax claim litigation matters for the county.
In addition, Black serves as general counsel for the Mid Mon Valley Transit Authority; solicitor for Dunlevy, Roscoe and Smithton boroughs; solicitor for RESA Regional Police; and solicitor for the county recorder of deeds.
He formerly was solicitor for the county prothonotary and served as a support hearing officer for Washington County, where he heard and adjudicated thousands of child and spousal support cases.
He is also treasurer of the Washington County Bar Foundation and an active member of the Monongahela Rotary Club, of which has previously served as president and secretary.
“I have lived and worked in Washington County most all of my life and have raised my children here,” Black said. “As the son of a union steelworker, I not only know and understand the most important concerns and issues affecting my neighbors and clients, I have lived them.”
A registered Democrat, Black said he plans to cross-file and seek both parties’ nomination in the May primary.