Easy part is over for ex-cop Ryan
The new mayor will have to deal with a council majority that favored his opponent in the campaign.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARON, Pa. -- Former city Police Chief David O. Ryan coasted to an easy win in Tuesday's mayoral race but he could find dealing with city council a lot tougher.
Ryan, 62, the city controller, defeated Councilman Lou Rotunno, 58, nearly 2-1 for the $49,000-a-year mayor's post, winning every precinct along the way in a 43 percent voter turnout.
But now he has to contend with a council majority that clearly opposed him in the election.
Council President Fred Hoffman and Councilman Raymond Fabian openly backed Rotunno in the mayor's race and Rotunno has two more years to serve in his current council term.
"I would hope they would do what is best for the city," Ryan said, adding he will go into office with the attitude, "The election's over and we have to work for the good of the city."
He didn't get any promises from the other side.
"I wish Mr. Ryan the best," Rotunno said, but added that he's not changing his mind about what's best for the future of the city.
"If our agenda matches his, then we'll get along. If not...," Rotunno said.
Fabian said the first goal has to be to physically clean up the city. That's council's wish, he said. Both Rotunno and Ryan emphasized that in their campaigns.
Budget: Hoffman said council has to see what outgoing Mayor Robert T. Price will present in the proposed 2002 budget later this month.
If he leaves Ryan with no money, that's not council's fault, he said.
There had been open claims in the Rotunno camp that Ryan will replace Police Chief Raymond Greene and Fire Chief Arthur Scarmack.
"I haven't even thought about that," Ryan said, claiming it was scare tactics used by the opposition to get votes.
"I'm not a hatchet man. I haven't evaluated anyone," Ryan said, adding that the only reason for someone to lose their position is "if someone's not doing their job."
Ryan said he, too, is concerned about the budget that Price will introduce Nov. 19.
He doesn't know if council will go along with Price's proposal, ask him for his input or do its own version, he said.
If council cuts the budget, there may not be money to do much of anything such as street paving, major neighborhood cleanups or re-implementing a city-funded recycling program, Ryan said.
Price said he will invite Ryan to meet with him about the budget and other matters and listen to any budget suggestions he might have.
Meetings: Ryan said he plans to create a mayor's advisory council composed of residents, business leaders and others with the city's interest at heart and it will meet once a month.
He will also institute weekly Monday morning staff meetings with department heads.
Ryan said he will change some procedures in the finance department, namely the practice of writing checks when there isn't money in a specific budget line item to cover the expenditure.
Under his administration, such checks won't be written until a budget transfer is approved by council to make sure adequate funds exist to cover the debt, he said.
Filing: Price had planned to run for re-election this year, his 24th year in office. He filed his nominating petitions for the spring primary but then withdrew after learning he had some health concerns that he said would prevent him from running the office the way it should be run.
Ryan had already filed to run against Price in the primary but Rotunno, who said he was supporting Price, had not and, once Price withdrew, it was to late for Rotunno to do anything but run a write-in campaign.
He did, winning on he Republican ticket, and ran in Tuesday's election as the Republican candidate.
Rotunno said he thinks the whole matter of Price first saying he was running and then suddenly stepping aside, clearing the way for Ryan to win was orchestrated by Price, Ryan and Councilwoman Chris Outrakis.
Outrakis is chairwoman of the Sharon Democratic Committee, which supported Ryan.
Ryan denied any such conspiracy existed, pointing out that he told people three years ago he planned to run for mayor in this election.
"We knew we were swimming upstream from day one," Rotunno said.
He knew he was in trouble when the results were announced from the first of Sharon's 14 precincts, showing him behind by 60 votes.
It showed too wide a margin to overcome, he said, predicting at that point that he would probably lose the election.