NEW BETHLEHEM – In a surprise move last week, veteran New Bethlehem Borough Councilman Gordon Barrows stepped down from his position in order to be appointed the new mayor of the community.
At the council’s Dec. 17 meeting, Barrows announced his application for the mayoral post, which was vacated last month when former mayor Tim Murray resigned before moving out of town.
“As mayor, I will represent the people of New Bethlehem Borough by helping to facilitate strategic partnerships, educate the community on the benefits of economic development, advocate for local and regional competitive economic vitality as well as help to promote civic leadership and community engagement,” Barrows wrote in a letter to the borough council.
A New Bethlehem native who graduated from Redbank Valley High School and Clarion University, Barrows is the proprietor of TechReady Professionals in New Bethlehem, a local computer technology and Internet marketing firm that will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Barrows, who said he is also pursuing a doctorate in business, currently serves on a number of local boards, including the Redbank Valley Municipal Authority, the Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce, Redbank Renaissance and the Redbank Valley Community Center. He is also involved with the New Bethlehem Fire Co., the Redbank Valley Education Foundation, Redbank Valley Trails Association and the Redbank Valley Alumni Association, and serves on the Board of Review for the New Bethlehem Boy Scouts.
Barrows was one of four applicants for the position of mayor. Other applicants included David Collett, Tracie Price and former councilman Ronny Geist.
Councilman Stewart Bain nominated Barrows for the mayoral post, and members approved the appointment in a 4-1 vote, with council president Sandy Mateer casting the lone vote of opposition.
Barrows will serve two years as mayor, until the next municipal election. The council agreed to seek letters of interest to fill Barrows’ seat on the council.
“To the people of New Bethlehem Borough, thank you for recently re-electing me to council, and to my fellow councilmembers, thank you for appointing me to serve as the mayor of New Bethlehem,” Barrows said. “Most importantly, thank you to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; to God be the glory for blessing my family and I with the opportunity to continue serving Your people.
“I am humbled and honored to have the privilege of serving the people of New Bethlehem, to support business, community and personal growth within the borough, while maintaining the small-town appeal and family-friendly environment that makes New Bethlehem such a great place to work, live and raise a family.”
The council also filled a vacancy on its seven-member panel this week, appointing Bryan Ruth to fill the seat vacated by last month’s resignation of Jennifer Murray. Ruth, who is currently finishing an appointed term on the council, was the only applicant for the opening. He will serve out the remainder of the two-year term.