Girard council president withstands challenge
By Ed Runyan
Reynald Paolone chose Tuesday night to focus on the support he received from the students at Girard City Schools – where he’s a teacher and a coach– as well as his adult supporters and his family.
After a political campaign that saw the incumbent Girard City Council president earn a 52 percent to 48 percent victory over challenger Mike Costarella, Paolone says he wanted to put the campaign behind him and fall back on the advice of his mom.
“My mother always said if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything,” he said Tuesday night of his challenger.
Paolone said he wanted to thank “the people who’ve been behind me for 20 years, including my wife and my sister.”
Paolone has been a member of city council for nearly 20 years and president of council since 2005. He said his efforts to pull the city out of fiscal emergency, from which the state auditor released Girard last June after 11 years of oversight, was reason to vote for him.
Paolone has been a social-studies teacher at Girard High School for 17 years and is also coach of the Girard High School softball team.
In an interview before the election, he said one of his main priorities was to ensure all income-tax revenue from the V&M Star construction project is accounted for. He said making sure Girard received its fair share is critical to the city. He said he also hoped to enhance the U.S. Route 422 corridor so it’s more environmentally friendly and inviting to businesses.
Costarella said enhancing the Route 422 corridor and entice more businesses that stem from the oil and gas industry would be priorities if he won.
“I’ve done a lot of studying on this, and we need to keep our eyes open so we can invite more businesses that support the industry,” said Costarella.
Costarella said one of his other goals was to digitize council proceedings so citizens can read ordinances and resolutions online. He believes improving technology is a way of getting the community involved in local government.
In the 1st Ward, Steve Brooks defeated incumbent Vincent Schuyler 54 percent to 46 percent. Schuyler served as the city’s mayor from 1992 to 2000 and has been a councilman at large since 2011. Brooks has not served on council before.