Sunbury Mayor Retiring; Reflects on Career, Offers Advice to Successor

SUNBURY -- When people in Sunbury cast their votes on Tuesday, they'll notice a familiar name missing from the ballot.

David Persing has been mayor of Sunbury for 24 years and has been involved in local government for 32 years, but he is retiring at the end of the year.

Persing is proud of his accomplishments and has some advice for the new mayor.

It is fitting to find Sunbury Mayor David Persing at the Pennsylvania Softball Training Center on Race Street. He and his wife run the nonprofit and spend a lot of time there.

In fact, it's softball that inspired Persing to run for city council back in 1988 after serving on Sunbury's recreation commission for seven years.

"They elected me to be the spokesman to go to city council and find out what's going on. To make a long story short, I come back to my wife and say I could do a better job on city council," Persing recalled.

After serving two years on Sunbury's city council, Persing ran for mayor, a title he's held for 24 years.

"He loved it. He always loved doing what he did as mayor and doing things for the city," said Kathaleen Persing, the mayor's wife.

But now it's time to move on. Persing did not run for mayor this year and will retire at the end of the year. It's a decision that did not come easy. Persing likes being mayor. He feels his biggest accomplishment was bringing tourism to Sunbury.

"Four lit softball fields, there's a YMCA up there. There's a skate park. There's a swimming pool up there. There's an ice skating rink up there," Persing said.

A couple of years ago, city council surprised the mayor by naming an entire recreation complex after him: The David L. Persing Recreation Complex.

After retirement, Persing plans to spend most of his time at the softball training center so kids can play ball all year round. He will also spend a lot of time at his recreation complex.

"If you go up there in the summertime, if there are ballgames on the fields, I'm probably up there at 8 a.m. dragging the fields."

Persing has some advice for the next mayor of Sunbury.

"Don't stop ever ever ever doing anything that improves the city."

He also encourages the next mayor to take the time to think about each decision you make.

Persing looks forward to working with whoever becomes the next mayor. There are three candidates on this year's ballot.