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McLaughlin is new mayor

| Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010

Interim McKeesport Mayor Regis T. McLaughlin received his oath of office in a brief ceremony at McKees Café.
“I’m appreciative of everything everyone has done for me,” McLaughlin, 76, said after taking his oath from Magisterial District Judge Eugene F. Riazzi Jr. Friday.
McLaughlin was elevated by his council colleagues to the mayor’s office Wednesday, after the resignation of his predecessor, state Sen. James R. Brewster, D-McKeesport.
“I feel very humbled and very proud,” the new mayor said. “It’s something I never thought would ever happen.”
Brewster was on hand as was state Rep. Bill Kortz, D-Dravosburg, members of city council and other city officials and employees.
“I’d like to work with everyone in the city,” McLaughlin said, reiterating his desire for an “open door” policy during his 13-month tenure. “Please see me before you go to the union.”
McLaughlin said he would be a hands-on mayor, who would “get out and mingle” but not copy the 24/7 style of his predecessor.
“I think the department heads are capable of doing their own jobs,” the new mayor said. “If they have problems, I hope they come see me first.”
There also were friends of the incoming mayor in attendance, including one man who defeated him in an election some 60 years ago.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Robert “Chick” Dansak of North Huntingdon Township, who is retired after 35 years as an East Allegheny school teacher.
The election was held by what now is known as the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club in McKeesport. Club members chose Dansak over McLaughlin for the honor of being mayor for a day.
“He beat me out for an office,” McLaughlin recalled. “I said, ‘someday I would get even.’”
“They chose the best man possible,” said Dansak, who was accompanied to the McKees Café by his son, White Oak attorney Ryan Dansak. “He loves this city and he’ll do the best he possibly can for this city.”
McLaughlin worked for 30 years at U.S. Steel Corp.’s National Works, leaving as a foreman when the company closed its McKeesport operation. He then bought a tavern along Sinclair Street and ran it for 15 years.
In 1991 he was appointed to the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport. He became chairman of MACM’s board after the death of Edward Dansak in March 2005.
On July 1, 1998, McLaughlin was chosen from among eight candidates to finish the term of the late Councilman James Honick. Voters then returned McLaughlin to council in 1999, 2003 and 2007.
McLaughlin was elevated to the council presidency when Brewster was elected mayor in 2003.
On Wednesday, former Councilman Dale McCall was named to finish McLaughlin’s council term. Riazzi said McCall came to his office Thursday and was given his oath of office.
“You can expect great things,” McLaughlin predicted about his tenure. Even with divided council votes on McCall’s selection and the city’s 2011 budget, the mayor said, “I think you can expect we will work together.”
McLaughlin, a widower, has a stepdaughter Debbie Bazzone who lives with her husband John in Clearwater, Fla. The Bazzones are parents of Lindsay, who is studying to be a doctor at Tulane University, and Michael, who has a computer-related job in Washington.

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