WEST PITTSTON — The borough council held an emergency meeting Friday morning to elect council officers in order to meet payroll for the week. Payroll checks must be signed by the council president.
Councilwoman Judy Aita was unanimously elected council president after two votes after the first nomination ended in a 3-3 tie.
Former council President Brian Thornton, council Vice President Peter Musinski and Councilman Kevin Lescavage resigned in September over the vote to approve borough police Chief Paul Porfirio a disability pension, citing it would put West Pittston Borough in financial stress that would result in higher taxes.
Three new council members — James Butera, Barry Hosier and Ellen Quinn — were installed earlier this month, but council officers were not elected.
Councilman Charles Alfano and Butera were unanimously voted vice president and president pro tempore, respectively.
The initial nomination for Aita failed. Council members Peter Albano, John Hood and Hosier voted no, while members Alfano, Butera and Aita voted yes. Quinn was not available for the meeting due to a prior commitment.
Mayor Tom Blaskiewicz recused himself to break the deadlock on the grounds he is related to Aita, so a second vote was cast.
Aita’s term will run through the end of the year before the annual reorganization meeting in January.
“We are going to move forward and have a good council,” Aita said. “Everyone has worked together for a long time and has the interest of the borough at heart.”
Blaskiewicz said he is looking forward to working with the current council. “We had over seven people that applied for the job and I think we have three great people that are serving as council members,” he said
In other news, a resolution was passed to temporarily close Linden Street from Wyoming Avenue to Stanton Street from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Oct. 29 for the West Pittston Parks and Recreation Committee Halloween event.
The council hired Midway Garden, Route 315, Pittston, to do landscaping and tree planting for the West Pittston Borough/Central Business District Infrastructure Reconstruction Project on Luzerne Avenue. Tom Reilly of Reilly Associates informed council Midway Garden was the low bidder for the job.
The council adopted a prepared resolution, authorizing the submission of a request to the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to amend the current DCED contract to increase financial support of the West Pittston Borough/Central Business District Infrastructure Reconstruction Project from $500,000 to $2 million.