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Catty fills empty seat

“Somewhere on council, there is a spot for me,” Virginia Schlegel said during the Catasauqua Borough Council meeting March 20.

Council members agreed, and Schlegel was approved to fill the empty council seat by a 4-2 majority vote.

The seat became vacant after the removal of Councilman Paul Cmil at the Feb. 20 meeting. Evidence had shown Cmil moved out of the borough, making him ineligible to serve on council.

The five candidates - Jonathan Fenstermaker, Tammi Hauser, Tara Nicholas, Schlegel and Robert Zakos Jr. - shared opening statements before answering questions from the council members.

Schlegel has been a resident for 36 years. She said she has regularly attended council meetings and is ready to take the next step. She also serves as an alternate to the zoning hearing board, a role she will have to vacate after being sworn in to council.

Schlegel said a short-term goal of hers would be to bolster the police department. She said she would like to see the addition of two full-time officers and one part-time officer. She noted equity and social justice are important topics.

Schlegel said she is in favor of regionalization. The Catasauqua and North Catasauqua fire departments are in the process of working together, and it has reportedly been a success. She said since it is working, it should be continued.

Schlegel said her honesty and loyalty were strengths she could bring to council. She also noted she has a deep dedication to the town and believes in the importance of teamwork.

Schlegel reported she wants to see roads improved, especially Front Street. She also wants to see blighted properties addressed.

When asked what she wants to see happen with the Iron Works site, Schlegel said she does not want a big-box store there. She would like to see mixed-use residential properties, parking for Front Street residents, a senior center and/or a small medical building.

She said she specializes in listening and hearing, particularly from her work as a pastor.

“I can bring a voice of the people to the table,” Schlegel said, noting she wants to be a representative of everyone.

Schlegel will fill the empty council seat for the remainder of the calendar year. She is also on the ballot for the November election for a future term.

She is expected to be sworn in during the April 3 council workshop meetings.

PRESS PHOTO BY SAMANTHA ANDERSON At the March 20 Catasauqua Borough Council meeting, Virginia Schlegel is approved to fill the empty seat.