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Fontana's fumble The council member should have resigned by now[edit | edit source]
The voters of Allegheny County spoke on the issue 16 months ago, but County Councilman Wayne Fontana doesn't get it. A ballot question asked if the home rule charter should be amended to let members of County Council stay in office while running for another position.
The people said no, favoring the principle that no one should be a po- litical candidate for a different office from the platform of a council member. Although the Post-Gazette favored the amendment, saying at the time that most other public officials are allowed to hold one elected job while running for another, the rules are the rules and this one says Wayne Fontana should go.
The Brookline Democrat, who is his party's nominee in the May special election in the state's 42nd Senate dis- trict, says he's not going right now but on March 17. He says opinions from the county solicitor and council's so- licitor say he has 30 days from the day he was nominated to step down..
Unfortunately, the home rule char- ter says nothing of the sort. Article III, Section 6 (b), is simple and direct: “A County Council Member shall not be a candidate for nomination or election to any elected political office other than that of County Council without having first resigned from County Council.” Yet Mr. Fontana, who is a real estate broker, and council President Rich Fitzgerald believe he should stay on through council's meeting next week because it will take up the proposed property assessment caps.
Despite Mr. Fontana's expertise, there are 14 other council members who can handle the legislation without him.
His candidacy for another office has been known for a while, despite his nonresignation. It was reported as early as January that he was considering a run. He accepted on Feb. 27 the Democratic nomination in the Senate race. He filed his official papers as a candidate with the state by the March 8 deadline.
It couldn't be more clear. Wayne Fontana is a candidate. The county charter says he should resign. And it should have happened by now.