Council Fills Vacant Seat

A long-time Follansbee resident and member of the city’s water board was selected Monday to fill the open at-large seat on City Council.

Dominick Micucci of Robin Hood Lane, in the city’s 5th Ward, was selected from eight applicants for the council seat, which became vacant when Jim Andreozzi resigned to serve as Brooke County commissioner. A retired Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel employee, Micucci has lived in Follansbee for 42 years and has served on its water board for three years.

Micucci said he applied because “I’m retired and I just thought I could give some input and help the city grow.”

Mayor David Velegol Jr. said it was difficult for council to choose from the eight applicants, all of whom he said were “excellent candidates.”

“I think everybody was overwhelmed by the response,” Velegol added.

The other seven applicants were: Denise Arthurs of Gilbert Avenue, John Casinelli of Virginia Avenue, Charles “Chuck” Cline of Highland Hills Drive, Vito “Skip” Cutrone of Rose Street, Kevin Diserio of Donegal Drive West, Jim Mirasola of Shady Lane and Art Quattrocchi of Mahan Avenue.

City Manager John DeStefano said, “It was refreshing to have eight people expressing interest in a position. We sometimes don’t have that many running for office (in an election).”

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Iris Ferrell encouraged the other applicants to offer input to council.

Micucci was appointed to serve the remaining six months of Andreozzi’s term. The city’s upcoming elections will determine who fills the seat beginning July 1.

City Clerk David Kurcina announced the primary election will be held April 2 and the municipal election on June 11. He added the filing period for candidates is Jan. 14-26. Certificates of announcement can be obtained at the Follansbee City Building from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The offices of mayor, city attorney, city clerk, police chief and all six council seats will be on the ballot. The filing fee for all offices is $20.

Kurcina said Follansbee is one of eight cities in West Virginia that holds a primary election and questioned if council wished to drop it in the next election year.

City Attorney Michael Gaudio said there are pros and cons to holding a primary election. He noted primary elections serve to eliminate candidates if there are more than two for an office and give candidates an idea how much support they have before going on to the general election.

But he added, “Elections are expensive. There’s no question.”

DeStefano said about $12,600 is budgeted for both elections.

First Ward Councilman Jim Miller suggested terms for city offices could be lengthened from two years to four years and staggered.

Gaudio said such issues could be put on ballots for the public to decide.