ERIE, Pa. - The first candidate running for an open Erie County Council seat has announced his bid.

Tom Staszewski tells Erie News Now he's running for council's 4th district seat, which includes portions of southeastern Erie.

The 64-year-old Democrat from Erie is worked in higher education for nearly 40 years in various administrative and budgetary roles, including a stint at Mercyhurst-North East.

"Over the last 20-30 years, I've worked on budgets, created budgets, and certainly realized the importance of fiscal responsibility and being a prudent steward of Erie County funds," he said.

Staszewski plans to use his experience working at community colleges to help council move forward with the proposed Erie County community college. He also plans to tackle tax-exempt bayfront properties, and create better communication between the county and city of Erie.

Council's 4th district is vacant because sitting Councilman Jay Breneman is running for Erie mayor and his term ends in 2017.