Benzak's Former Opponent is Likely Successor
Abington Commissioner Les Benzak, who stepped down last month, will likely be replaced by the man he ran against in 2005.
When Abington Commissioner Les Benzak announced that he was stepping down at the last board of commissioners meeting, he probably didn’t know that his likely successor — and former opponent — would speak up following his remarks.
According to a reliable source, North Hills resident Stephen Kalinoski will likely replace Benzak as Commissioner for Ward 6. Kalinoski, speaking to Patch on Wednesday, confirmed this.
Kalinoski said members of the board have spoken to him about the possibility of being Commissioner for Ward 6; he met with members of the board two nights after Benzak announced that he was stepping down.
Kalinoski, a North Hills resident, and Republican committeeperson, ran against Benzak in the general election in November 2005 — and it was close.
Following Benzak’s remarks, during the public comment section of the meeting, Kalinoski wished Benzak well.
But Kalinoski said that wasn’t the reason stayed for the end of the meeting.
“That’s why I went there,” Kalinoski said. “[Benzak] didn’t know I was there. I ran against him six years ago. I thought I lost by less than 60 [votes] but Les said it was 60, so we’ll go with that,” he said with a laugh.
Kalinoski said he ran for the Ward 6 seat in 2005 because one of his neighbors was living in a condemned house; the situation involved a lot of interaction with township officials and he said, “I realized I could do more in my own ward if I was a commissioner.”
On Benzak stepping down, Kalinoski said, “I was kind of shocked [but] there was a big rumor that he had already moved.”
And on Benzak’s tenure, Kalinoski said, “I think he did OK … he did good and he did what he could do. He did answer calls and he did well; he was involved in the community.”
Kalinoski is involved in the community as well. Five years go he took over as the general manager of the North Penn VFW, Post 676. He said it was going bankrupt at the time, but has since turned around.
“The [VFW] board wasn’t sure which way it was going to go — I believe it’s a landmark of our community,” he said.
And what issues does he think are important in Ward 6?
“I think it’s important to reach out to the community — getting to know what people need,” Kalinoski said. “I know traffic and speeding are a concern. We have [several] major streets in Ward 6 — Jenkintown Road, Limekiln Pike and Edge Hill Road. I’d like to see traffic safety improved and I want to be involved and reachable in the community.”
The next Abington Board of Commissioners meeting is Thursday, June 14.