Mayors of boroughs, townships and other home rule charter municipalities across Pennsylvania gathered in Pittsburgh over the weekend with a focus on learning more about being community leaders.
Jim Nowalk, president of the Pennsylvania Mayors Association and Whitehall borough’s mayor, said no person or event over the last year molded the conference’s leadership theme, but added it is important for mayors to realize they’re community leaders.
“You see it in the media, that the mayor is generally regarded as the leader of the community, the mayor responds to emergencies,” Nowalk said. “I just felt it was a good topic.”
Local speakers, such as Duquesne University School of Law Dean Ken Gormley, contributed to the 42nd annual Pennsylvania State Mayors Association conference.
“We had about 11 speakers that addressed various aspects of leadership, not all the topics were about leadership, but all of the topics were specifically directed to mayors and how they can become better mayors in their community,” Nowalk said. “Each of these speakers enabled mayors who attended to go back to their communities and be better mayors because of what they learned.”
Nowalk said one of the speakers, Congressman Lou Barletta of Luzerne County, suggested mayors look beyond party affiliation.
“Mayors need to focus on solutions to problems and not be concerned about partisan considerations or other types of distractions,” Nowalk said. “They need to work to find solutions.”
The annual conference was held at the Omni William Penn in downtown Pittsburgh. Currently, there are more than 1,000 mayors in the state of Pennsylvania, and about 60 attended the conference. Most of them are not full-time mayors.