CHOICE: Commissioner Dan Vogler nominates a local banking official to replace Lawrence County Treasurer Gary F. Felasco on the county's housing authority board.





BY PAT LITOWITZ PLITOWITZ@NCNEWSONLINE.COM





A Pulaski Township resident who specializes in finance has been nominated to serve on the Lawrence County Housing Authority board. County Commissioner Dan Vogler recommended Michael L. Mancuso, 44, to replace disgraced county Treasurer Gary F. Felasco. Mancuso is a regional manager with Sky Bank. He oversees the company's western Pennsylvania sales support team. "I'm excited about it," Mancuso said yesterday. "I'm actually very honored." Vogler's selection was made yesterday at the commissioners' work session. Mancuso's appointment will be voted on Tuesday at the commissioners' regular meeting. Commissioner Ed Fosnaught did not offer a name for consideration. Commissioner Steve Craig was not in attendance. He was in Pittsburgh for a labor relations hearing. "He does have a strong background in finance," Vogler said. "At this point in time that would be an asset to the housing authority." While the county does not provide the authority with financial assistance, commissioners are authorized to appoint members to its board. This will mark the third appointment that the current board of commissioners will have made. Last year, commissioners named Ernestine Wise to replace James Graves as the housing authority's tenant representative. That was followed with the selection of Ellwood City police Chief William Betz. He took the seat of Jeffrey Scrim, New Castle's fire chief. "The organization needs to have its financial house in order," Mancuso said. "It needs to be run like a business. "I would be taking a close at everything they're doing." More than 30 county residents submitted letters of interest to commissioners. Notable applicants included New Castle Mayor Wayne Alexander, state Rep. Frank LaGrotta, Ellwood City borough manager Dom Viccari, former state representative and county commissioner Thomas J. Fee, developer Angelo Medure and retired housing authority maintenance superintendent Angelo Burrelli. Five housing authority residents also applied. Felasco, who has been convicted on state theft charges, resigned his seat on the housing authority last month. In November 2005, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development suspended him in response to the state charges. Felasco's term began Jan. 1, 2003, and was scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2007. Commissioners will have one, perhaps two, more opportunities to make appointments this year to the housing authority board. Chairman Robert Heath's term ends in December. The county also is suing to have board member Donald "Ducky" Conti removed from his seat. In January, Conti pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gambling charge. He received two years' probation. County common pleas court Judge J. Craig Cox will preside over the hearing, which opens Monday. "The commissioners are wasting money getting me off the board," Conti said yesterday. "I didn't do nothing against HUD or the housing authority. "All they're doing is throwing money away on a nonpaid position." Conti's term expires Dec. 31, 2008.



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