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Murrysville's former administrator rehired

| Sunday, April 29, 2012, 12:09 p.m.

James Morrison, who left Murrysville municipal government in 1998, will return Monday to the same post he held 10 years ago: chief administrator.

Morrison was confirmed Wednesday night by council on a unanimous vote. He will be paid an annual salary of $85,000, the same salary he received as North Huntingdon township manager, the job he is leaving.

In making the appointment, Mayor Joyce Somers lauded Morrison as a "competent person." She joked that she expected to go to lunch on Monday and "let (Morrison) start running things."

Morrison told council, "I'm looking forward to getting started."

Morrison replaces John Barrett, who resigned in late January to take a position with a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit.

Morrison, who remained a Murrysville resident after leaving local government for a job in the private sector, was initially hired in 1993 for $42,650. He was credited by Somers with two overarching achievements: construction of the administration and public works buildings.

After the meeting, Morrison said he comes back to oversee a staff and a municipal government portfolio that is larger than the one he left. Nevertheless, he pronounced himself ready to take charge.

Morrison said he delights in unexpected developments. "I like that challenge" of local government, he said.

Council expects to discuss at its next meeting a proposal to boost the sales tax by 1 percent, half of the proceeds going to county government and the remainder apportioned among the county's cities, boroughs and townships.

Somers brought the matter to the attention of council after she and a delegation of municipal officials from across the state met with Gov. Rendell last week in Harrisburg.

Somers serves as chairman of the Pennsylvania League of Cities legislative committee.

The mayor said she was initially opposed to the measure, but came away from her meeting with the governor feeling it might have some merit.

Her bottom line advice, she said, was for the county commissioners and others in the county to take a look at the proposal after it has been fleshed out in Harrisburg.

Councilman Dennis Pavlik said he thought Murrysville council should adopt a position on the matter. Somers said it was too early to do so. The compromise appeared to be the agreement to thrash out the pros and cons at the March meeting.

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