STEELTON, Pa. (WHTM) – ABC27 is investigating concerns about Steelton’s borough council election in November.
The election results brought four new members to the council; Michael Segina, Keontay Hodge, Kelly Kratzer, and Sharon Salov. Incumbent Mike Albert was voted out.
Shortly after the election, several sources told ABC27 there was a plan to ensure Albert could keep his seat. Salov would step down, and council would appoint Albert to her vacancy.
Two months later, the scenario played out. Salov declined to take her seat due to what council members described as “personal commitments.” At the next meeting, Republican Mike Albert was appointed to fill Democrat Sharon Salov’s vacant seat.
It didn’t happen without a fight.
Meeting minutes show Mayor Tom Acri called the process “unfair” to voters. New council members Hodge and Kratzer agreed, but they were outvoted.
“The people spoke during the November elections,” community activist Markis Millberry said. “They voted him out, and council brought him right back in.”
Millberry says he feels like his vote was ignored.
“He’s a great person. He’s all for the community, born and raised in Steelton,” Millberry said about Albert. “I love the Alberts. It’s just that he’s been on council for 16 years. I think that’s too long.”
ABC27 brought its questions directly to Michael Albert. He says there was no “plan” to appoint him until after the first meeting of 2016.
“After the meeting was over, a couple council members questioned me and said, ‘Are you still interested in that seat?’ And I’m like ‘Yes,'” Albert said.
Albert says if other council members didn’t like it, they had the opportunity to take action.
“Any borough council member that wanted to nominate somebody else could have said, ‘Hey I’d like to nominate Joe Smith.'” Albert said. “But no other council member stood up and nominated Joe Smith.”
Former council member Denae House says she isn’t buying it.
“It’s not illegal; it’s unethical,” she told ABC27.
House wishes these kinds of situations were preventable.
“It could happen anywhere,” House said. “You could be a registered voter and at the end of the day, your vote might not even really matter.”
House also takes issue with a Republican being appointed to a Democrat’s seat, but Albert says it shouldn’t matter.
“I care about Steelton,” Albert said. “I don’t care about Republican or Democrat. I care about Steelton.”
ABC27 left a message for Sharon Salov at her home. She did not return the call.