More than 150 people filled Monessen City Hall to watch Matt Shorraw take the oath of office as Monessen’s 20th mayor.
For Shorraw, public service was a goal he set for himself at an early age.
“It was a dream of mine to serve in this capacity, although I always thought it would be later in life,” said Shorraw, 26, who became the youngest mayor in the city’s history. “I can assure you my heart is in this.”
As outgoing mayor Lou Mavrakis handed the gavel over to Shorraw, he wished his successor the best of luck and pledged his support.
“If you ever need any help, don’t hesitate to call me,” said Mavrakis, who was unsuccessful in a November write-in campaign to retain the office.
Shorraw, a Democrat, urged council to put aside past divisions and work together to bring about positive changes for city residents.
“We are all here in unity and because of our love for Monessen and its progress,” he said. “It is crucial to channel this positive energy and genuine excitement into a spirit of action. We must put aside all spite, petty politics and ulterior motives. That will not be tolerated any longer. The status quo has ended.”
Joining Shorraw are Gilbert Coles, Anthony Orzechowski and Ron Chiaravalle, the only holdovers from the previous council.
Shorraw made a motion to appoint David Feehan, a former Marine and NATO task force member, to fill a two-year council seat that was still open.
However, the motion failed with a tied voted after Orzechowski asked council to interview other candidates before making a decision.
“In light of some of the controversy surrounding appointments that were made last week, I think we should advertise for the position so we can pick the best candidate for the position,” said Orzechowski.
Council has 30 days to fill the open seat.
Filling out the administrative team are Gerald Saksun, treasurer, and Wayne Vlasic, controller.
New leadership positions will include Shorraw, public affairs; Chiaravalle, accounts and finance; Orzechowski, streets and public improvements; and Coles, parks and public properties. Council still has to fill the public safety position.
In addition, council members renewed the current employment agreement for Judith Taylor, city administrator/clerk, and reappointed W.E.C., Inc. as city engineer. Council also appointed Lt. Jim Smith to serve as acting chief of police until current police chief John Mandarino retires later this month. The council will make a final decision on Mandarino’s replacement in February.
A vote to reappoint Dodaro, Matta & Cambest P.C. as city solicitor failed, causing an “automatic interim.” As a result, that firm will remain in the solicitorship role until council members designate a new solicitor.
Supreme Court Justice Debra McCloskey Todd administered the oath of office, while the Monessen High School Chorus sang the national anthem.