PRIMARY ELECTION NIGHT VICTORIES BRING CONTINUITY TO CITY COUNCIL; MAYOR ACHIEVES BI-PARTISAN WIN

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ImageFacing no Democratic opponent, Mayor Ed Pawlowski won both the Democratic and Republican nomination for Mayor and is already preparing for the November General Election.  Pawlowski won the Republican nod by being a write-in candidate on the Republican ticket.   “I’m honored to be nominated by so many Republicans,” said Pawlowski.  “This just proves that the transformation of Allentown is a non-partisan issue, and that residents of both parties approve of the progress we are making.”

Current City Council President Julio Guridy, who received the most votes of any council candidate, and Council members Cynthia Mota, Ray O’Connell and Joe Davis were also victorious in the primary.  Current Police Captain Daryl Hendricks, a newcomer to political office, won the other four-year council seat available.  Davis won a two year council seat.  Barring any independents announcing their candidacy, all of the victorious Democrats can now set their sights on winning the General Election in November, since there were no Republican challengers in the Primary.

“I’m really happy for Cynthia,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “To have gone through the health issues that she had in Venezuela and still win says a lot about the job she has done on City Council.   The voters of Allentown recognize that Cynthia is an important member of City Council and deserved to be elected to a full term.”  

Mota had gone to Venezuela to be with her brother who underwent a serious operation.  She developed a case of shingles and was hospitalized, receiving several blood transfusions and operations during her stay.  Immediately after one of the operations, Mota insisted on calling in to the City Council session where the vote was taken on the water lease concession.  She remained on her cell phone for over four hours, until the vote was complete.   “I think that proves her dedication to her community, and why she deserved to win the primary,” added Pawlowski.

 

TAKING THE MAYOR’S OFFICE TO THE STREETS: ARCELAY TO BE OUT IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS

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ImageA member of Mayor Pawlowski’s staff began holding office hours right in the city’s neighborhoods to make the Mayor’s office more accessible to residents.  Ismael Arcelay a Special Assistant to the Mayor who runs the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services, began visiting various locations in the city on Wednesday, June 5th.  He will take his office to the city streets two days of each month.

“It’s not always possible for people to make their way to city hall and it’s more personable than picking-up the telephone,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “I also hope these neighborhood appearances will prompt more people to open-up about their concerns that involve their city government.” 

According to Arcelay, he’ll be acting to ensure that residents are receiving information on city services. “OCS addresses residents’ concerns and complaints by collaborating with city agencies and offering an avenue for residents to voice their concerns and suggestions on improvements of city services,” said Arcelay.

Additionally, OCS will provide information on a variety of issues and make appropriate referrals to other government entities and human services programs. 

“We provide a lot of different services that may be interest to constituents, but they may not be aware,” said Arcelay. “For instance, I can help them with questions and issues concerning properties and inspections and accessibility for people with a disability. Are they concerned about human rights issues in Allentown? Do they want a speaker for their community group on city and constituent services? Those are just some of the ways that I can be of assistance.” 

More information about the Office of Constituent Services will be available on the city website at http://www.allentownpa.gov. 

HONORED FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXCELLENCE: PAWLOWSKI RECEIVES GOVERNOR’S AWARD

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ImageOn Local Government Day in the State of Pennsylvania, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski traveled to Harrisburg to attend a ceremony at the Pennsylvania State Capitol’s East Wing Rotunda where he received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence.

Pawlowski was one of eight local government leaders and 12 communities across the state to receive recognition from Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Jim Cawley, on behalf of Governor Tom Corbett.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services,” said Pawlowski.  “My administration has worked extremely hard to leverage the progress we had made over the past several years and turn that progress in success. We have planned for economic development, blight elimination, redevelopment, crime prevention and more; all these things are coming together to transform our city.”

The award recognizes local governments whose exceptional efforts have resulted in improved service delivery and whose achievement or program serves as a model for Pennsylvania’s local governments.

“The governor and I understand the immense responsibility you all have to provide solutions that make your community a vibrant place to live, work and raise a family,” said Lt. Governor Cawley.  “Today is recognition of your dedication to public service, and a celebration of leadership and innovation that has resulted in vibrant communities for the citizens you serve.”

POLICE CHIEF ROGER MACLEAN TO RETIRE: SEARCH BEGINS FOR REPLACEMENT

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Mayor Pawlowski and Robert Wasserman

Current Allentown Police Chief Roger MacLean will retire at the end of this year, and the search has begun for the next police chief in the City of Allentown. Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced at an afternoon news conference on May 15th that Robert Wasserman and his Massachusetts-based Strategic Policy Partnership would be starting the process of recruitment and selection of a new police chief. 

Pawlowski said, “The police contract that took effect in January 2009 included a one-time Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP enhancement for veteran officers. This allowed the city to keep our most experienced police officers and command staff through the end of this year. Mindful that this group includes Chief Roger MacLean, Assistant Chief Joe Hanna, Assistant Chief Dan Warg and two of our most experienced captains, the city has retained Mr. Wasserman’s services to assist the city in this task.” 

Wasserman has worked for many of the nation’s largest cities as a policing strategist. His Strategic Policy Partnership is a group that assists police and government agencies with policing strategy development, performance improvement and personnel selection. Wasserman’s clients include the cities and police departments of Cincinnati, Oakland, Milwaukee, Cambridge, Mass., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Stamford, Conn., New York City, South Bend, IN. and Chicago. 

Wasserman will conduct the selection process in a multi-step approach that will provide full transparency of the selection process, with the exception of the city maintaining confidentiality of candidate names until the finalists have been selected so the job security of applicants is protected. 

The selection process provides for substantial community input and provides the community with the opportunity to meet and observe the finalist candidates prior to the mayor’s forwarding the name of his appointee for consideration to City Council. On May 30th, the first of several community forums was held in City Council Chambers where the public was allowed to offer candidate characteristics and issues in the department that they feel that the new chief needs to address. 

In addition to the public forums, Wasserman will conduct interviews with a cross section of police employees to gauge what they seek in the next chief.  He also will conduct one on one meetings and interviews with members of City Council as well as with key members and leaders of the community. 

The candidates will be narrowed down to three or four who will appear before a public forum prior to interviewing with the Mayor and before any final nominee is selected. 

“This is a very rigorous and inclusive process,” said City Council President Julio Guridy. “I am confident that it will result in the selection of the best chief for our city and will maintain the reduction of crime in Allentown over the past several years.” 

The position will be advertised in professional organization newsletters, through Major City Chiefs, and through organizations like the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association. 

According to Pawlowski, “Public safety is the most important job we collectively undertake in local government and the police chief is centrally important to the administration of the department and the attitude that our officers take with them to the streets every single day. We are fortunate to have been directed by a fine command staff, but we are now seven months away from the time when they will all be moving-on. They have left us a legacy to build on.” 

FACADE IMPROVEMENTS SURROUNDING THE NIZ: PARTNERSHIP SET TO REFURBISH ALLENTOWN

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ImageThe City of Allentown has established a public-private partnership that will improve the appearance of buildings and attract investments to the city districts surrounding the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ).  At a press conference held on April 29th, Mayor Pawlowski was joined by representatives from the participating partners which consist of: the Hamilton District Main Street Program (HDMSP), the Seventh Street Development Committee (SSDC), private developer City Center Lehigh Valley and downtown Allentown’s largest employer, PPL.

“As Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) drives redevelopment within its borders, we also need to attract investment beyond them in order to revitalize the entire downtown,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said.  “The mission of this new partnership is to make the neighborhoods around the NIZ more inviting to encourage new businesses, residents and visitors.  In other words, the partnership aims to create direct economic benefits to the community surrounding the NIZ.”

City Center Lehigh Valley will contribute $200,000 to the first phase of plan, which will offer grants to help existing business and property owners improve the facades of their buildings in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Hamilton Street during the next 24 months. The goal is to improve 15 to 30 facades with an average grant size of $15,000.  PPL will support this first phase by continuing to contribute $100,000 it currently provides for the Main Street and neighborhood-improvement programs on Hamilton and Seventh Streets.

The initiative will be administered by the HDMSP, a program of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, with support from the SSDC, a program of the Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, both of which have extensive experience working with Allentown business owners to improve their properties.  Other districts of the city will be supported as the program grows and more private investors volunteer to provide resources. The City of Allentown, the HDMSP and the SSDC will jointly market the initiative. 

“This is an outstanding example of public-private partnership,” Pawlowski said. “It will help educate local business and property owners about the importance of façade quality in improving the overall downtown appearance and give them a financial boost toward meeting that goal. We aim to create a kind of confidence in the city that will ignite further business investment and also encourage pedestrians to stroll, shop, visit arts institutions, attend events, work and live downtown.”

PAWLOWSKI HONORED WITH SMALL BUSINESS AWARD

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ImageAllentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski was honored with a U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) Partner America 2013 Small Business Advocate Award during a “City Hall 101 Breakfast with Mayor Pawlowski” at the Hamilton Family Diner on May 8th.  The free breakfast for any Allentown business was sponsored by the City of Allentown and the Allentown Chamber of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.  

Pawlowski was cited for his strong support of small businesses in Allentown. The Breakfast with the Mayor program is a prime example of the kind support that Mayor Pawlowski provides the small business community in Allentown. 

“I am honored to receive this award from USCM,” said Pawlowski. “We are making great strides in small business development in Allentown and I am very pleased that the USCM is recognizing that effort.” 

The Partner America Program is the Mayor’s Small Business Initiative. It is a 12 year strategic alliance between the U.S. Conference of Mayors and American Management Services to provide resources, technical assistance and support to small businesses on behalf of mayors throughout the United States. 

KEEPING THE EAST SIDE SAFE: GROUND BROKEN FOR EAST SIDE FIRE STATION

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ImageOn the morning of May 8th, Mayor Ed Pawlowski and other dignitaries gathered for a ground-breaking ceremony for a new East Side Fire Station in the 700 block of North Irving Street in Allentown. Joining the Mayor were Fire Chief Bob Scheirer, members of City Council, representatives of East Side neighborhood groups and local residents. 

“The new station will be a substantial improvement over the old facility,” said Pawlowski. “The new station will be better for the firefighters and the equipment. It will also have women’s quarters which were lacking in the old station.” 

The new station, which will be a two-story building with three bays, will accommodate up to eight firefighters and two paramedics. 

“The old station was basically a garage with extremely tight living quarters,” said Scheirer. “The workout area consisted of a treadmill placed between the firefighters’ beds.” 

The original station, built in 1953, was closed in September 2011 because of structural damage. The station was demolished last June. 

Pawlowski said, “This is another part of the transformation of Allentown that is visible in all parts of our city, and we are very happy to erect this new facility on the East Side.”