Borough Council Approves Timetable For Selecting Mayor Don Hahn’s Replacement

Elissa Hill

The State College Borough Council discussed at its Monday meeting the procedure for determining current Mayor Don Hahn’s replacement when he resigns from his post in December, pending successful election to the position of magisterial district judge in November, a position he’s running opposed for. Council unanimously approved Council President Evan Myers’ timetable for selecting Hahn’s replacement.

Hahn made his intention to resign official several weeks ago after receiving a dual-party nomination in May to succeed Judge Carmine Prestia, Jr., who will retire in January.

Council President Evan Myers distributed a memo suggesting a selection process for Hahn’s successor at last week’s meeting, which served as a basis for Monday’s discussion and will direct its replacement efforts going forward.

Monday’s meeting focused primarily on a single point of contention: the political ethics of allowing the Council-chosen interim mayor to run in the next mayoral election with the weight of incumbency and name recognition behind them.

Councilwoman Theresa Lafer kicked off the debate, voicing her concern that Council should try to limit the possibility of having its chosen candidate run in the next general election in two years as much as possible.

“I do not want to appoint an incumbent who can take advantage of that name recognition,” she said. “I would hope that we could agree to not appoint someone who wants to run for mayor in the immediate future, because I do not think that is politically sound or fair to anybody else who might be interested.”

Lafer later added that now should not be the time to choose a long-term mayoral candidate.

Councilman Dan Murphy questioned Council’s ability to work a preventative clause against running for mayor in the future into its decision-making process. Currently, candidates are only required to be 18 years old and be a proven resident of State College.

Council will evaluate potential candidates who express interest in the vacant position at public meetings. They will then vote by simple majority to elect an interim mayor.

“I think someone’s intentions are basically unknowable,” councilman Jesse Barlow said, concurring with other members who said that intentions to run for mayor should only be used in individual councilmembers’ decisions in backing a candidate.

Myers said that he agreed that a prohibition against running again would be “restrictive,” and that there was no legal rationale that could prevent individuals who promised to honor only their interim term from running again.

Borough Solicitor Terry Williams clarified that it could ask individuals who express interest in being chosen for mayor to ask almost anything relating to their performance in the position, including whether they plan to run again.

Murphy also confirmed that Council’s student representative would be involved in the hearing process up until the point of the vote.

After this discussion, Council unanimously approved Myers’ timetable for selecting Hahn’s replacement. It will discuss the proposed process further at its Friday work session, and will review interested candidates beginning November 8.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Jim Davidson

Jim is a junior English and history major and the features editor for Onward State. He, like most of the Penn State undergraduate population, is from 'just outside Philadelphia,' and grew up in Spring City, Pennsylvania. He covers a variety of Penn State topics, but spends nine months of every year waiting for the start of soccer season. You can reach him via email at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @messijim.

Washington Set As Penn State 2024 White Out Opponent

The Huskies will make their White Out debut in their first year in the Big Ten.

Penn State Football Announces 2024 Game Themes

Ohio State will serve as the Helmet Stripe and UCLA will experience among the full slot of themes.

Harpers To Open Second Location In Renovated Nittany Lion Inn

Harpers will open a new location in the newly renovated Nittany Lion Inn when it reopens to guests in September.

Other posts by Jim

To The People & The Place, I Love You, Goodbye: Jim Davidson’s Senior Column

“Although it’s still unclear where my own path, where my own train, is headed, I know that if I could go back and begin the same journey again, I would slow down as I passed through Happy Valley.”

Penn State Women’s Soccer Alum Ellie Jean Signs With Dutch Club PSV Eindhoven

‘You’re Always A Part Of The Program’: Naeher, Krieger, & The Soccer Journey That Began In Happy Valley