By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
GIRARDVILLE - "I think there's going to be a lot of changes coming to the borough, but I think they're going to be positive changes, and I think our borough is ready for that."
That is what Girardville Mayor Michael Zangari told the Sentinel after his first meeting Monday night.
He's 23 years old, which makes him the youngest mayor in the borough's 148 year history.
"I think my age is a double-edged sword," Zangari said. "I have a lot of experience, I'd like to think. I've been very involved in this borough, and I have some great people I can lean on for guidance, but on the other hand, I'm ambitious, I have that drive, this is my home and this is where I want to raise my family."
"I want to make it a better community for my family and every other family here," Zangari said.
Zangari was among four borough officials sworn in Monday night during the first half of the meeting before a packed house at the Girardville borough building, the other three being two incoming council members and a re-elected member.
Incumbent Charles Marquardt and newcomers Ed Burns and Brian Dempsey, as well as Zangari, were sworn in by Magisterial District Judge Christina Hale.
Zangari presided over the meeting following the swearing in, as nominations for council president were taken. Councilman Frederick McDonald nominated Marquardt, seconded by Dempsey. A unanimous vote named Marquardt council president.
Dempsey then nominated Burns for vice president, with McDonald seconding.
Among other items handled during the reorganization meeting was the reappointment of a borough fire chief, and the establishment of guidelines for selection to such a position. Frank Zangari was chosen for the post.
Council stipulated that the borough fire chief must be trained at a level to operate incident command and conduct investigations, must be a 15-year member of a borough fire company and serve as a line officer in one to be considered for the post.
Additionally, council selected an assistant code enforcement officer, Dan Kress, to help current code enforcement officer Bill Killian.
Council voted to change the monthly meeting dates to the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30, except November, due to a conflict with Veterans' Day.
During the meeting, Mayor Zangari asked council to consider several motions, one of which was the establishment of a borough Facebook page and the establishment of a borough social media policy.
"This page would be used for advertising events within our borough, fire companies, biddy basketball, parade information, what have you," said the mayor. He explained that the page would be useful for disseminating information such as snow emergencies.
He added that the page would not be used to answer messages or respond to comments.
He additionally asked council for authorization to work with the borough solicitor to draft a social media policy for borough employees and representatives.
"We are not just going to pay an officer to sit in the station or sit in a car. With that, with police comes tickets, so if you're speeding and a cop gets you, that's how it is. You get a ticket."
"If you [a council member] make your own page and go and bad mouth the borough, there would be items saying you cannot do that," the mayor said.
"I really think a Facebook page would benefit us. It's 2020, we need to change with the times, but I think being able to control it is a key part to any social media we have today," the mayor added. Council unanimously authorized him to work with the solicitor on such actions.
The mayor then asked any community organizations to provide information on their events. He additionally requested council to advertise for hiring police officers.
"We'd accept applications until close of business February 7 so that we can review them on February 9 at the work session and hopefully have a candidate on February 12," he said. The borough currently only has one police officer, he said.
"We are not just going to pay an officer to sit in the station or sit in a car," the mayor added. "With that, with police comes tickets, so if you're speeding and a cop gets you, that's how it is. You get a ticket."
"This is a warning to everyone that we're bringing police back, don't break the law. It's that simple," he added.
The mayor told the Sentinel after the meeting, "Police is our biggest [initiative]. I think once we start to tackle police, and we get the code enforcement ball rolling, I think a lot of other problems start to phase out."
"That's our start, we're going to start there and see what we can do, and if we can build off of that, great, but I don't know the future. I don't know where we're going to go, but I know we can't get worse. We're going to get better," the mayor added.
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