BRADDOCK (KDKA) – The search is on to find the next Mayor of Braddock. John Fetterman was elected Lieutenant Governor during the mid-term elections and on Tuesday the borough council will select a successor to serve until Jan. 2020.
After years of decay, Braddock has seen a resurgence under Mayor Fetterman, but the former mayor has moved on and on Tuesday, Braddock has to make a decision.
No one on council wanted the job, so they interviewed a pool of applicants and whittle them down to two: Rankin Police Officer Pedro Valles and local activist Isaac Bunn.
These are two good candidates,” said Braddock Council President Tina Doose. “They’re both residents of the community and they have strong interpersonal skills and I think they can handle the role as mayor.”
Candidate Pedro Valles says he thinks he is ready for the job.
“I think I’m a natural choice for it,” said Valles. “The mayor’s primary responsibility is the police department. I have more than 24 years of experience as a police officer and constable.”
In addition to his police job, Valles serves as an elected constable in Braddock and there is a question of whether he can keep that job and serve as mayor at the same time.
Bunn is a cook at UPMC Monroeville and founder of the Braddock Inclusion Project, which believes redevelopment needs to benefit more people.
But since he is registered to vote in North Braddock, there are questions about his residency. He also has a criminal record including convictions for harassment and public drunkenness. He was arrested in 2016 for a second DUI offense, though those charges were withdrawn.
In a statement, Bunn says his problems are part and he could be the public face of the borough.
“I’ve moved on. I don’t think one’s past should define them as to the person they are in the here and now. My past isn’t a reflection of who I am today.”
Following a heated and controversial borough council meeting Tuesday night, officials declared there will not be an interim mayor appointed.