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Four seeking Weirton 5th Ward seat

April 2, 2011
From staff reports

WEIRTON - Four hope to fill a seat on Weirton City Council representing the city's 5th Ward in Brooke County.

They are: Justin Bull of 3808 Brightway St., John Brown of 3549 Lindberg Way, George Gaughenbaugh of 3704 Riverview Drive, and Tracy Solomon-DiBacco of 3725 Woodlawn Way.

Bull has worked in emergency medical services as a member of the Weirton Area Ambulance and Rescue Squad Inc., Brooke County Emergency Medical Service and local fire departments.

He said Weirton faces several major issues, such as a major sewer project, anticipated rate increases and declining population. If elected, he'd explore ways to increase the job market to keep residents in Weirton and to increase the city's revenue.

He said he'd work with other council members to utilize the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and other entities to seek businesses.

With the rising cost of healthcare and benefits for city employees a large part of the budget, he said council must be fiscally responsible but can't forget there is a person or a family attached to those figures.

A lifelong resident of Marland Heights, Gaughenbaugh is a member of the Weirton Transit Corp. board.

He said he would like the quality of life for residents in the 5th Ward to stay at the same level, with improvements made when necessary.

One thing he'd like to see is a community yard sale near the pool around the spring clean-up and a few days a week dedicated to a community clean-up project that would bring neighbors and friends together while keeping the area looking good.

Gaughenbaugh said it's important for council members to stay in touch with residents and serve as the people's voice and will be available to help them find answers to various issues.

"I have seen this town through the best and worst times it has seen and I look forward to working with the residents and other public officials to bring Weirton to a brighter future," he said.

A resident of Woodlawn Way for more than 40 years, Solomon-DiBacco earned a degree in business administration from West Liberty University and is a benefits administrator for Air Ground Xpress Inc.

She served on the city's charter review board in the 1990s and was involved in the class action suit that brought restitution to residents who lost items to a major power surge several years ago.

Solomon-DiBacco said if elected, she will strive to know "all the facts before forming an opinion on any issues. I intend to approach this position with an open mind, willing to listen to the constituents of Ward 5, other citizens and special interest groups and organizations throughout the city."

She said she will work to make the city friendly to new and existing businesses and financially able to provide services sought by potential new residents who work in nearby metropolitan areas.

A Weirton resident for 43 years, Brown has been working for the city since 1985. Starting as a housing inspector, he moved on to the building inspections department and finally, the public works department, where he became its director in 2007.

He also has served as advisor to the Weirton Traffic Commission and local school boards.

"I know the ins and outs of the city. I know where all the problems are and I believe I can help address them," Brown said.

Over the past several years, Brown said he's seen some progress happen in the city and wants to be directly involved in bringing Weirton to a bright future.

"Any legislation promoting growth for current and future business will have my support," he said.

He said beautifying the downtown section and the city as a whole should continue as well.

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