The people of Erie have a new mayor and that new mayor has a lot of challenges ahead and promises to keep.
“You have to be ready for the unexpected,” says Mayor Joyce Savocchio, “but you do have to be prepared at least somewhat for the things that you have promised the community were going to happen… that’s very important.”
Rick Filippi says, “I admit it now, I was young at the time… I learned a lot while I was in office and I learn even more now… [We had] some trouble here and there and we didn’t accomplish a lot of what I wanted to do”.
Some of the challenges facing the new mayor are similar to those who served before. “I think that the city’s tax base is declining. Neighborhoods [have lost] good paying jobs. Those are the main challenges and I think they’ve only gotten worse,” says Filippi.
Mayor Savacchio says the new mayor needs to get the people of Erie to trust the office and trust the process. Something she tried to do with community outreach. “That’s not all that easy to do and every mayor has to find their own way of doing that, but if you don’t do that; if you don’t involve people [and] you just tell them what you want to happen, you’re going to have trouble.”
Establishing a working relationship with the County Executive is also an important element for the future of Northwest PA. “Erie’s clout has been basically completely eviscerated in Harrisburg and Washington so the mayor needs to start and county executive need to start reinserting that authority so that we can get our due and we can start growing again,” says Filippi.
Mayor Savacchio optimistic about where the city stands now and where the next mayor can take us. “I think the real challenge, besides all of the problems with mayor 101, bring the community together totally and not faction in different .com and groups and to work for that common good that everybody wants.”