Local residents who witnessed an altercation at Hosack Elementary School during the November 7, 2017 election are concerned about the behavior of one of the participants in the melee – McCandless Town Councilman Steven Mertz. Three minors who were working as volunteers at the polling location in McCandless Township’s Ward 6 were allegedly approached by Mertz who reportedly initiated a verbal assault.
McCandless resident and father of the 3 juveniles, Don Mueller, addressed McCandless Town Council members at the December 18, 2017 regular business meeting where he described his children ages 16, 15 and 13 being “verbally accosted” by the Councilman who was supporting Councilwoman-elect Carolyn Schweiger in the race against incumbent Ralph LeDonne.
The incident was reported on by Tony LaRussa from the Tribune-Review, who was present at Monday’s Council Meeting. Read the article in the Trib here: http://triblive.com/local/northhills/13092344-74/dad-accuses-mccandless-councilman-of-profane-laced-tirade-against-his-kids
Video of Mueller’s address to town council:
Mertz sat stoic throughout Mueller’s presentation until he motioned to Council President Gerard Aufman with his cellphone, indicating that the 5-minute limit for resident comment had been reached. Aufman then stopped Mueller from continuing. (As a member of the Citizens of McCandless in 2016, Mertz was a very vocal opponent to Town Resolution 12, limiting the time period for resident or taxpayer comments to 5 minutes.) No response was made from Council to Mueller’s assertions, and Council moved to adjourn the meeting.
Town of McCandless Police Chief David DiSanti asked Allegheny County Police to investigate the incident. After the investigation, County Police turned the case over to Assistant District Attorney Janet Necessary who declined to charge Mertz. Access McCandless reached out for comment, but Necessary was unavailable for comment.
In a post on Facebook, Mertz asserted that the article in the Tribune-Review was inaccurate and that the children were aggressive on topics such as abortion, gay rights and immigration. In the post, Mertz identified the minor children by name characterizing them as “offensive teenagers” and admitted that he asked one of the children “What the f* is wrong with you?” before finally departing. Mertz asserts in his post that the police “found no wrong doing,” but in the investigations of Access McCandless, we learned that the case was turned over by police to the District Attorney’s office,.
Facebook user Dave Brunger agreed. “Sounds like they baited you fairly well,” he said, “I could absolutely see this whole interaction happening and see them reporting a skewed version to protect themselves and make you look bad.”