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BLAIRSVILLE: Mayor announces re-election bid; council appoints new tax collector

by on February 20, 2013 3:00 PM

BLAIRSVILLE — Blairsville Borough Mayor Joe Caugherty is hedging his political bets, saying that he will seek the Democratic nomination for mayor and for First Ward councilman this spring.

Caugherty announced his intentions while giving the mayor’s report at a borough council meeting Tuesday.

Following the meeting, Caugherty said his decision is being driven in part by his belief that council Vice President Ron Evanko will run for mayor. Evanko is recovering from surgery and wasn’t available for comment Tuesday. Both men are Democrats.

Caugherty was elected as mayor in 2009, when he defeated the late John Zedick, the incumbent, for the Democratic nomination and won out over independent Heather Kunkle in the November general election. Prior to the election, Caugherty was serving a two-year term as a borough councilman.

He is a retired borough police officer, having served with the department for 32 years, six of those years as chief.

Caugherty said that if he winds up taking both seats, he would probably choose to remain mayor over becoming a councilman.

“I like the job a lot,” he said.

In other matters, council, through two rounds of voting, appointed North Morrow Street resident Carol Tarasovich as tax collector. Tarasovich, who runs an accounting and tax preparation business, succeeds Joan Baker, who resigned last month. Baker had one year remaining on her term.

Tarasovich did not attend the meeting and did not return a phone call this morning seeking comment. She was one of 13 people who applied for the job.

In the initial round of voting, Councilwoman Mary Ugoletti nominated Constance Otti for the appointment, with a second from Councilman Jeff Marshall. But council rejected her nomination on a 3-2 vote, with Jim Mollo, Carolyn Smith and John Bertolino casting votes against.

In the second round, Marshall nominated Tarasovich, with a second from Mollo. Council then voted her in unanimously.

Also Tuesday night, council named Marshall and McArthur Street resident Carol Persichetti to the newly created seats on the Blairsville Community Development Authority, which has expanded from a five-member to a seven-member board. Council also reappointed Linda Gwinn to the authority.

At the same time, council accepted the resignation of board member Ed Smith.

Reached at home following the meeting, Smith said he decided to step down because he had some deep disagreements with other board members on the way the organization was being run. He also said he is facing new constraints on his time; he was recently appointed chairman of the Indiana County Tax Collection Committee.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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