Ron Filippelli Sworn In As Interim Mayor, Discusses Goals For Two-Year Term

Ronald Filippelli was sworn into office as interim mayor of State College Tuesday afternoon in Council Chambers. Filippelli also outlined the key initiatives he’ll seek to address in his new position, specifically bringing affordable housing to the Borough.

Filippelli, a Penn State professor emeritus and former Council president, was appointed Monday night to serve the remaining two years of outgoing mayor Don Hahn’s four-year term. Council approved his selection with a 6-1 vote Monday evening.

Filippelli entered Council Chambers to a chorus of congratulations from Council and community members. Council President Evan Myers introduced the new mayor, highlighting his extensive public service record in Centre County.

“I’ve known Ron for decades as a dedicated public servant,” Myers said.

In addition to his eight years on Borough Council and two as Council President, Filippelli is also a former chair of the Centre Region Council of Governments General Forum and has been involved in many other local government initiatives. He is currently the chair of both the board of directors of the Centre County Airport Authority and the State College Zoning Rewrite Commission. He chaired the department of labor studies and industrial relations at Penn State, and served as an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts for 15 years.

Filippelli kept his own remarks short after he was sworn into office by Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest. He thanked Council, the Borough’s citizens, and Hahn.

“I will do my best to be worthy of your confidence,” he said.

After the meeting, Filippelli said that he was at first opposed to becoming mayor when he first discussed the subject with Borough Manager Tom Fountaine several months ago.

“I said absolutely not, but here I am, so things change, and I’m happy to be here,” he said.

Filippelli said that he believes the mayor could serve as a “mediator” between various community groups. He also reiterated the need for a centralized policy that would provide affordable housing for local residents.

“I think that State College needs a single, comprehensive housing policy, which it does not have,” he said.

The Borough has several organizations that seek to provide affordable housing, such as the State College Community Land Trust. But Filippelli, a member of the Land Trusts’ board of directors, said that there is still work to be done to attract young families and professionals to State College.

“My goal would be to try to encourage the Borough and these various organizations to come together, because we don’t have the kind of affordable housing we need in the Borough,” he said.

Filippelli weighed in on a controversial list of guidelines for choosing an interim mayor that was initially proposed by Council members in October. One of these guidelines encouraged Council members to refrain from choosing an active Penn State employee as interim mayor.

“I thought that was a wrong approach,” Filippelli said. He added, however, that he believed the sentiment behind the guideline was to prevent someone with a full-time job from becoming mayor, not to specifically bar Penn State employees from being considered.

“We’re here because of Penn State, let’s face it,” he said. “We’re not so much dependent on it now as we were in the beginning, but anyway, how many people in the people in the Borough are connected to Penn State? An enormous number of residents.”

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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.

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