SHARON Candidates for council seats offer suggestions to make city better

Council is looking to fill two vacancies left by recent deaths.
SHARON, Pa. -- The city needs to clean up its residential neighborhoods, boost municipal pride and morale, focus more on the attributes of the Penn State Shenango campus and more closely scrutinize its spending.
Those were just a few of the suggestions coming from the 16 city residents interviewed for a vacant city council seat Monday.
Sharon has lost two councilmen in the last two months and city council is in the process of trying to fill those vacancies, starting with the post of Councilman Lou Rotunno, who was re-elected in November but died before he could be sworn into office again.
Councilman George Gulla died last week, and his seat will be filled in February.
Sixteen of 20 people who applied for Rotunno's seat showed up at city council chambers Monday to make a pitch for the job. They faced questions from the three remaining members of council, who are scheduled to make the appointment at 5 p.m. today.
When asked what the city could do to improve itself, the candidates offered a variety of suggestions.
Making the city more resident-friendly was one proposal, developing two- and five-year long-range operational plans was another and selling municipal services, such as police and fire protection, to other municipalities was a third.
Targeting small-business development rather than seek a single large employer to provide jobs, close city alleys to save money on maintenance, solicit volunteers to help with municipal functions and activities make more of an effort to attract young people to the city were others.
The candidates for the appointment ranged from a former city councilman to people who have never sought public office before.
The appointment to Rotunno's post will last only two years and most of those interviewed said that, if appointed now, they would run for the seat on their own in two years.
All of those interviewed said they also want to be considered for the Gulla post, another two-year appointment.
They won't have to be interviewed again for that job, but the position will be opened up to any other interested applicants who should submit a letter of interest to the city clerk by Feb. 6.
Those additional people will be interviewed and an appointment made Feb. 9.
Council members were impressed with the quality of candidates.
Picking two people to fill the two council seats will be "a very difficult job," said Fred Hoffman, council president.
Those on the list are: the Rev. Laura Adams-King, David E. Bailey Jr., Jennifer Barborak, Joseph M. Biro Jr., Francis P. Connelly, Atty. Thomas A. Dill, Raymond M. Fabian, Darin D. Flower, Thomas W. Hall Sr., Atty. Victor Heutsche, John J. Pacsi, Michael Seaman, Kirk C. Sieg II, Carol L. Swartz, Marlene L. Torrence and Linda Valentino.