Overdue Honor for Former Mayor of Scranton

SCRANTON, Pa. -- One of Scranton's former mayors is finally getting equal recognition among his peers.

The addition of Mayor Jim McNulty's portrait to Scranton City Hall was a long time coming, and it's something his wife was going to make sure happened.

Inside City Hall, there's a display of the city's mayoral history -- portraits of mayors dating back to 1866. But there's been an interruption in that history for quite some time since Mayor McNulty never put up his own portrait when he left office in 1986.

For decades, a red rose has held Mayor Jim McNulty's spot in the City Hall display of mayors. The rose was a symbol of McNulty's campaign for mayor in the 1980s.

And while he never shied away from a news camera, he did not like to pose for photographs. So much so, that when he married the love of his life, Evie Rafalko, in 1991 they didn't get a wedding portrait taken.

Mayor McNulty passed away in 2016, and even now, he's learning a lesson most husbands eventually do: wives get their way.

"This was the building he loved most of all," said Evie Rafalko McNulty. "This was the life he cherished most of all. The thing he loved most of all was this city. I'll defer to that. It's only appropriate, and I'm just happy he's here to be a part of the history of the rest of the city."

It's not a picture but a drawing that now replaces the red rose. Technically, they're still abiding by the mayor's wishes.

"He would have a lot to say, however, I think deep down he'd be happy, especially the people who came. His wife wanted it, and he deserves to be there," said the mayor's former assistant Martha Dougher.

City officials decided to add McNulty's portrait now because they all just moved the portraits to the first floor.

The mayors' portraits had been inside city council chambers, but during the day, the door is locked. This way, city officials say, even more people will be able to see them.

The current mayor says already people have stopped by to check out the pictures of his predecessors. Now, that history is a little more complete.

"He took pride in his accomplishment. He took pride in the city, and he took pride in this building, so I think he's happy with that, I know he is. And if he isn't, what can I tell you? I got the last word after all," Rafalko McNulty laughed.

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