by Jim Caldwell
J. Scott Albrecht surprised both Jefferson Hills Council and staff members, as well as those in the chamber, on Monday night, May 14, by reading a letter of resignation during the general business. Citing a work load from his occupation, Albrecht said that he could no longer justify taking the time needed to best fulfill the obligations of a councilman. One by one, the other members expressed their gratitude for his service, his friendship, his talent and contributions to the community the past two years.
The borough solicitor immediately informed the council president and the remaining members that they now had 30 days in which to fill the seat for the remaining time of Albrecht’s term. By June 11, 2012 they will have had to reach a consensus of someone to appoint to the council seat. If, perchance, there was no agreement on a name, the task would then revert to the borough's vacancy committee, which would, together with council, have another 14 days in which to appoint someone. Finally, if after this time there was no consensus, it would revert to the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to determine a replacement.
Earlier in the meeting, several citizens came forth to urge council to draft a letter in support of the various Pennsylvania municipalities and communities that have sued the State of Pennsylvania to declare ACT 13 unconstitutional. This law, passed in February, negated all the zoning work in the borough to regular the drilling for Marcellus Shale. A couple of residents even pressed council to enact a resolution against it. Council President Chris King assured the people that council had already decided to write a strong letter in defense of the law suit but that a resolution was not discussed. Other council members asserted that they have in no way been passive in pursuing action against the new state legislation.
Two authorizations were given to prepare and advertise new ordinances: 1) amending the Borough Civil Service Commission Rules and Regulations, and 2) one concerning animals.
Council approved a Gateway Engineers’ work order to prepare information for the design of the new Public Works facility. They approved $6,622 for plumbing services at Gill Hall Park Community Center. They accepted a proposal from Musco Lighting for $5,606 per year for five years for park lighting fixture service. And they approved $276,336.84 to A. Folino Construction, Inc. for the Pavement Maintenance Program.
Upon the request of Public Works Director Tom Lovell, Council voted to become a member of the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) at no cost or obligation to have access to lower bids nationally for goods and services to the borough, which would save money. They immediately voted to approve a five-year contract to Unifirst for uniforms at a monthly, and therefore a large, yearly savings.
Lastly, McLean Architects LLC was awarded $19,200 for engineering services for HVAC improvements in the municipal center. Siemens Industry, Inc. will provide the maintenances services for the HVAC.