Blawnox mayor resigns after serving 40 years
What started as a celebration of Tom Smith's 40 years as mayor of Blawnox turned into a farewell.
Fighting back tears, Smith resigned as mayor last week — two days after celebrating his 40th anniversary in the position.
Smith said he had been discussing resigning with his wife who suggested he wait until he reached 40 years in office.
“I have been contemplating resigning as mayor for probably about a year and a half,” Smith said.
While his health is still good, Smith said, he wanted more time to spend with family and at a home he and his wife bought in Florida last year.
“We want the opportunity to use that more and I want to spend more time with our family and going to North Carolina,” Smith said.
Smith said relocation was not in his plans.
“I'm not gonna move there. I have no intention of living in Florida,” Smith said.
In 1968, Smith first became a councilman and four years later took over as mayor.
Among the highlights of his tenure were the construction of a high rise for senior citizens and a new fire department building.
Council President Deborah Laskey praised Smith's leadership during that time.
“We've worked together to elevate this community to a competitive position with our surrounding neighbors and that took some doing,” Laskey said.
Allegheny County Councilman Nick Futules, whose district includes Blawnox, called Smith a pillar of the community. He said there was no doubt Smith's legacy would live on in the borough.
“I truly believe that some day there will be a place in Blawnox with your name on it,” Futules said.
Congratulations from state Rep. Anthony DeLuca (D-32), state Sen. Jim Ferlo (D-38) and state Rep. Mike Doyle (D-14) were read by local officials and council approved a resolution honoring Smith's tenure.
George McBriar, chief of the Blawnox Volunteer Fire Company also presented an appreciation from the department.
Police Chief George Bucha thanked Smith for the work he has done for the department and said he would miss his boss.
“A lot of people don't know exactly how much he has done. You had to be here to really know,” Bucha said.
Smith had kind words for his fellow elected officials.
“I think we got a lot done working together,” Smith said. “And I'm sure whoever you select in my stead I'm sure will work the same way together with borough council to continue to try to get things done for this borough.”
The recognition was something he didn't expect.
“It's wonderful. This town is just like gold and the people in it are like gold,” Smith said.
Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or email@example.com.