It’s a brand new day in Pennsylvania’s first city. At long last, Thaddeus Kirkland is the mayor of Chester.

He has immediately made clear that fighting crime is his administration’s top priority. Almost immediately he reappointed former police chief (or police commissioner) Darren Alston back in the big seat, while naming  Otis Blair as deputy commissioner, James Nolan as chief of police, Capt. Steven Gretzky as police major and Capt. Marilyn Lee as Chester’s first female police major.

Councilman Nafis Nichols agrees that crimefighting is important to turning Chester around, and says…

“It’s a priority of the city to reduce crime and improve the quality of life. We attract economic development, we increase property value, and (fighting) crime is the driving force in improve our institutions and education sector.”

Kirkland is in an enviable position of being surrounded by a team of city council members who are in lockstep with him. There should be no issues implementing any policy he sees fit to offer the city. With so few resources within the city, Kirkland’s success will be measured on how well he will engage outside interests to invest in the turnaround of this once great manufacturing city on the river. Without a doubt, until the crime issue is addressed, Chester will continue to be a hard sell.

In my opinion, the most exciting part of having Thaddeus Kirkland as mayor is that he really wants to be the mayor. These past couple mayors did an admirable job, but neither of them came to the job with the same fervor for wanting to lead this city as Kirkland has. Now it’s time to see how that fervor translates into action which translates into change.

The deck is stacked in Kirkland’s favor. There’s a ton of opportunity to make improvements in many areas around here. If he can keep everyone working on the same page, unlike what we experienced in the last four years, he should come out smelling like roses.

Click to read Delcotimes article on Kirkland inauguration