Council president: ‘Major changes’ on the way

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Borough residents can expect major changes to be made by Punxsutawney Borough Council during its Feb. 13 meeting.

“Major changes are about to occur by council that will surprise a lot of people,” council President Larry Chenoga said Monday.

“This is going to be a great council, and at our next meeting, we are going to make some changes that will surprise a lot of people,” he said. “We’re going to move forward, and we’re going to move forward in the right direction.

“This is going to be a great council, and we should get a lot accomplished,” Chenoga said, adding that in the short period of time that he has spent with both new and incumbent council members, he’s impressed with everyone.

“I hope everyone isn’t too surprised at what we’re going to do,” he said. “We have a lot of good ideas, and we’re going to move forward shortly. We want the cooperation of all the businesses and people of Punxsy.”

Chenoga said that’s what it is all about: Everyone working together.

“I think this council is up to the task of making these changes,” he said.

Also, council needs to become better.

“We need to gain back the respect of the people of Punxsy,” Chenoga said. “We must do the right thing for all the people in Punxsy.”

Chenoga said he thought the first meeting Monday went well, and that no single council member seeks the spotlight.

The cooperation of borough employees from the borough manager, chief of police, secretaries and borough crews has been super, he said, adding that they are the best employees, and they would do anything for you.

Chenoga said the reason he’s on borough council is because of his late wife, who died of cancer.

“When she became ill, I had said I would resign so I could be with her more,” he said. “She knew how much I loved it and wouldn’t let me, so I’m fulfilling a promise that I made to her before she died.”

Chenoga said he hopes he can be the president that everyone wants him to be and the leader that the members of council need him to be.

“One of my top priorities is to be honest with the public and have morals,” he said. “Every time I’m driving to the council meeting, I pray to God to give me the strength to do what is best for the borough and the people who live here.”

Chenoga said with God’s help and the help from the other members of council, they can strive to do their best, too.

He said that he thinks a lot of the other members of council who were elected as officers.

Mike Porada, council vice-president, has been a firefighter for 38 years and is a great person and cares about Punxsutawney, Chenoga said. He also noted that Michele Lorenzo, president pro-tem, is a super-nice person and very intelligent.

“The more I’m around her, the more I see that she is an asset to not only council, but to the people of Punxsy,” he said.

Chenoga said he has the privilege of working with a great management staff.

“Ben White is the best borough manager ever in the history of Punxsy,” he said. “He likes helping people.”

Chenoga also cited Joe Defelice, Public Works foreman, as having the borough’s most visible job. Despite taking flak from the public sometimes, he never gets angry and does what he can to help borough residents, Chenoga said.

He said Chuck Hess, manager of the Sewage Treatment Plant, is a kind individual who helps everyone.

“I’m impressed with his operation every time that I go down there,” Chenoga said.

He said the borough couldn’t run without Mary Neal, borough secretary, as she manages all of the federal programs and grant funds and does a great job in running the borough along with White.

Mary McHenry, code enforcement officer, is another very intelligent borough employee, Chenoga said.

“I never dreamed that she has the knowledge that she has, and I’m sure she’ll be a big help to me as council president,” he said.

Chenoga also thanked the borough employees for their help so far, and he’s looking forward to the next two years as council president.