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Manor's new mayor brings emergency experience

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Manor's incoming mayor is bringing an extensive background in emergency services to his new post.

Though Jeremy “J.R.” Dixon is taking an elective office for the first time, his community-service résumé includes serving as a Manor volunteer firefighter since 1994 and two years of experience as the borough's emergency-management coordinator and fire marshal.

In his day job, Dixon, 33, is a safety inspector for Bettis Marine Propulsion Co. He also works part time as an emergency medical technician for the Penn Township Ambulance Association.

Even after his swearing in as mayor at council's reorganization meeting on Monday night, Dixon will continue to serve as the emergency management coordinator. His primary duty as mayor will be oversight of the police department.

“As a former Marine and safety engineer, he brings a new perspective on things to the mayor's position,” said Councilman Brian Woy, a fellow firefighter. “I look forward to working with him on some traffic issues we have in the borough; updating our emergency-response plans; and coming up with some long-term goals for the borough regarding parks, roads and borough facilities.”

Dixon, a Republican, succeeds Democrat Dave Sturgess, who decided not to run for re-election after six years as mayor and four years on council. Dixon was the only person who filed nominating petitions for the seat.

Since his family moved to the borough when he was 5 years old, Dixon said, he has considered Manor home. Even when he was serving in the Marine Corps and completing bachelor's and master's degrees at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, he maintained his membership in the fire department.

“To me, this is where my family's always been from, and, for the foreseeable future, will be from,” said Dixon, a married father with one son. “It's a great combination of being close enough to all the things that are urban but not having parallel parking on the streets. It's got a real sense of community where people aren't afraid to help each other.”

As mayor and emergency-management coordinator, Dixon said, he wants to ensure good working relationships among the police, road crew and firefighters, particularly during emergencies.

He said the biggest problem facing the police department probably is the difficulty in retaining officers. Though council created a third full-time position last year, one of the more experienced officers recently left for a full-time job in Penn Township, and smaller communities frequently lose part-timers to jobs elsewhere.

“The revolving door is just going to be there. It's the nature of the beast,” Dixon said. “We're a borough of 3,200 residents. We're blessed to have a full-time police department, and what we've had to this point is fantastic.”

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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