Parker leaving office, library

PARKER

CLARION — Monday, July 8, will be Clarion Mayor Dan Parker’s last day in office. The executive director of Clarion Free Library for the past eight years, Parker will be moving to take a similar position at the Ringwood Public Library in New Jersey.

Parker has served as Clarion’s mayor since being approved by the borough council in December of 2016 to fill the seat vacated when Dave Walters relocated. He won the general election in 2017.

“I’ve loved it here. And I like to think that I’ve done some good work with the Clarion Free Library. But the opportunity that came up in New Jersey seemed like a good chance to expand my horizons and grow a little more as a professional. So I seized the opportunity,” Parker said.

His decision to pursue the mayoral position actually grew out of his job as a librarian. “A good librarian is a political animal, you know,” he said. “Good librarians interact with local officials and township supervisors and various other government officials. I think a librarian should be active in the community.

“And so those things together made me work with the Blueprint Community activities that are going on here in the borough and a lot of other nonprofit organizations. And I just thought it was a good way to be of service to the community.”

Parker says one of the keys to performing successfully as a small town mayor is fostering collaboration with borough council. “The borough council controls the money and they have all the power. So you need to have a good working relationship with borough council to make sure that you at least have the opportunity to consult with them, advise them, and provide your input on local issues.

“The mayor is the focal point in the community. So the mayor is the one who hears the community – the good things and the bad things. And I think it’s incumbent on the mayor to take that information to council and make them aware of what the community is worried about, what they’re concerned about.”

While Parker considers performing marriages to be his favorite official duty, he points to working with the police department as one of his biggest accomplishments.

“We were able to promote Bill Peck as our chief, and he’s a young man, he’s a go-getter. He’s got a great vision for what he believes community policing should be in a small rural community. And he’s committed to making our community safe. Stopping the inflow of illegal drugs I think is one of his primary goals. And he’s been very good at that. So I’m very pleased at the work we’ve (Parker and the borough council) done with the police department here,” Parker said.

The job, which pays a yearly salary of $210, is not without its challenges. “Well, Clarion has some challenges. You know, really working to try to better the economic situation here in Clarion has been a challenge. And we’ve worked hard at it. The mayor’s office and council have worked really hard with local businessmen and with local groups to try to stimulate economic activity here.”

Parker says one possible solution Clarion should look at with regard to these economic concerns is entering Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a comprehensive, community-based approach to revitalizing downtowns and central business districts. “I think that would be a great help to us. And I think that’s something I hope council and the future mayor will explore.”

Upon moving to New Jersey he doesn’t plan to pursue political office in the short term, though his comments on the subject seem to indicate he hasn’t ruled out doing so in the long term.

“I will probably be involved in the community. I don’t know very much about New Jersey politics, but I suspect that there’s probably a lot of people waiting in line to be mayor of Ringwood and other elected positions. So I think I’m just going to start out as a community volunteer, see where that goes.”

In the meantime, Clarion begins searching for a new mayor who will, much like when Parker took office, initially be appointed by vote of the borough council. No matter who eventually becomes the new mayor, Parker offers some words of advice.

“Be accessible and listen to everybody. Even if it’s just a complaint, put a smile on your face and listen, because that’s what the citizens really want. They want someone to listen to their concerns. So make sure that you’re available to them, that they know where to find you, and they know how to get in touch with you. And then just listen to what their concerns are.”

Monday, July 8, will be Clarion Mayor Dan Parker’s last day in office. The executive director of Clarion Free Library for the past eight years, Parker will be moving to take a similar position at the Ringwood Public Library in New Jersey.

Parker has served as Clarion’s mayor since being approved by the borough council in December of 2016 to fill the seat vacated when Dave Walters relocated. He won the general election in 2017.

“I’ve loved it here. And I like to think that I’ve done some good work with the Clarion Free Library. But the opportunity that came up in New Jersey seemed like a good chance to expand my horizons and grow a little more as a professional. So I seized the opportunity,” Parker said.

His decision to pursue the mayoral position actually grew out of his job as a librarian. “A good librarian is a political animal, you know,” he said. “Good librarians interact with local officials and township supervisors and various other government officials. I think a librarian should be active in the community.

“And so those things together made me work with the Blueprint Community activities that are going on here in the borough and a lot of other nonprofit organizations. And I just thought it was a good way to be of service to the community.”

Parker says one of the keys to performing successfully as a small town mayor is fostering collaboration with borough council. “The borough council controls the money and they have all the power. So you need to have a good working relationship with borough council to make sure that you at least have the opportunity to consult with them, advise them, and provide your input on local issues.

“The mayor is the focal point in the community. So the mayor is the one who hears the community – the good things and the bad things. And I think it’s incumbent on the mayor to take that information to council and make them aware of what the community is worried about, what they’re concerned about.”

While Parker considers performing marriages to be his favorite official duty, he points to working with the police department as one of his biggest accomplishments.

“We were able to promote Bill Peck as our chief, and he’s a young man, he’s a go-getter. He’s got a great vision for what he believes community policing should be in a small rural community. And he’s committed to making our community safe. Stopping the inflow of illegal drugs I think is one of his primary goals. And he’s been very good at that. So I’m very pleased at the work we’ve (Parker and the borough council) done with the police department here,” Parker said.

The job, which pays a yearly salary of $210, is not without its challenges. “Well, Clarion has some challenges. You know, really working to try to better the economic situation here in Clarion has been a challenge. And we’ve worked hard at it. The mayor’s office and council have worked really hard with local businessmen and with local groups to try to stimulate economic activity here.”

Parker says one possible solution Clarion should look at with regard to these economic concerns is entering Pennsylvania’s Main Street Program, a comprehensive, community-based approach to revitalizing downtowns and central business districts. “I think that would be a great help to us. And I think that’s something I hope council and the future mayor will explore.”

Upon moving to New Jersey he doesn’t plan to pursue political office in the short term, though his comments on the subject seem to indicate he hasn’t ruled out doing so in the long term.

“I will probably be involved in the community. I don’t know very much about New Jersey politics, but I suspect that there’s probably a lot of people waiting in line to be mayor of Ringwood and other elected positions. So I think I’m just going to start out as a community volunteer, see where that goes.”

In the meantime, Clarion begins searching for a new mayor who will, much like when Parker took office, initially be appointed by vote of the borough council. No matter who eventually becomes the new mayor, Parker offers some words of advice.

“Be accessible and listen to everybody. Even if it’s just a complaint, put a smile on your face and listen, because that’s what the citizens really want. They want someone to listen to their concerns. So make sure that you’re available to them, that they know where to find you, and they know how to get in touch with you. And then just listen to what their concerns are.”

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