Harrisburg officials invoked a spirit of optimism and cooperation today, as the city swore in its returning mayor and most of City Council.
In city hall, newly inaugurated District Justice Hanif Johnson administered the oath of office to Mayor Eric Papenfuse, Treasurer Dan Miller and council members Wanda Williams, Shamaine Daniels, Ben Allatt, Dave Madsen and Ausha Green.
In November, Papenfuse, Williams, Daniels and Allatt all won re-election, while Miller, Madsen and Green will serve their first elected terms following mid-cycle appointments to their positions.
At the ceremony, Papenfuse was the lone official to address the crowd, citing the progress Harrisburg has made during his first term following the financial crisis that nearly bankrupted the city and sent it into state receivership.
“Today, Harrisburg is not a symbol of failure,” he said. “In Pennsylvania and throughout the nation, Harrisburg is a glowing symbol of renaissance and renewal.”
He credited his fellow elected officials, city workers and residents for “the optimism and hope that is so palpable on our streets today.”
“Yes, we have achieved a lot working together these past four years, but much work lies ahead,” he said.
Following the ceremony, City Council held a brief reorganization meeting, unanimously re-electing Williams as council president. Allatt took over as vice president by a 4-3 vote over Councilman Westburn Majors. Daniels, who served previously as vice president, was not re-nominated. All council committee assignments are unchanged.
Williams said that, for 2018, her principal goal is ensuring the construction of the police substation on Allison Hill. The city plans to raise a 1,600-square-foot building on S. 15th Street, with a planned opening in the late summer.
Completion of the city’s comprehensive plan is another priority, she said. On Jan. 10, the Planning Commission will hold a meeting to present the draft plan to the public and get resident input.
Williams further said that she and Papenfuse will meet next week to review priorities for the year.
“I hope we can cooperate with the administration to move Harrisburg in a positive direction,” she said, as she heaped praise on her fellow council members as “the best council I’ve been on in the last 12 years.”