New Mayor Starts Job in Wilkes-Barre

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- At 8 a.m. on the dot, George Brown walked into City Hall in Wilkes-Barre Tuesday for his first full day on the job after taking the oath of office.

"I am so ready. I've been waiting four years for this day. We worked hard this last year campaigning for this day, and now it's here, and I'm full of energy and ambition to get going," he said.

Mayor Brown said there is a lot to be done, from fixing city streets, dealing with blighted buildings, deciding to sell or lease the city's sewer system, and cracking down on crime.

"If he can clean up the city because it's gotten terrible. I worked here since 1989 when the Sheridan Crossgates existed. Back then it was nice, the things they had going with the things on the square, stuff like that. We need to get more towards that and clean up with the drugs and stuff like that because it's fallen terribly that way," said Ed Falzone of Wyoming.

Brown said he wants to do it all and he promises to do it with transparency. He said he does not want any secrets in City Hall, but his first order of business is putting together a city budget.

"Every day I'm going to be looking at line items and looking at what's necessary and what isn't. We just had a recent notification that our life insurance premiums are going up by 48 thousand dollars here. I have to find 48 thousand dollars in my budget to pay for that."

Some city residents are hopeful about the future but said I will take time before they can decide if Mayor Brown delivers on his promises.

"Politicians, they all make promises. And it's the ones that can stand up to the challenges ahead of us and make some changes. I can't really tell you until after the changes are made to be honest with you," said Leslie Benton of Wilkes-Barre.

Mayor Brown admits the road ahead may not be an easy one.

He said he may have to make some difficult decisions but he said he will do what he has to for the benefit of the city.

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