Mayor Paul Farkas

Farewell Address

Mayor Paul Farkas

December 9, 2021

I’ve been mayor for eleven years, and I want to thank all the kind citizens of the borough for allowing me to hold this many years as mayor in this beautiful little community of ours.

After moving to West Mayfield many years ago, I thought I’d like to get into politics and see what it’s like, and to see if I can do anything to make this borough a little better place to live. What really drove me on was the police chief of the borough, at that time, who asked me what I think I could do for the borough. And I said to him politely, well, I don’t know what I can do. But I certainly would appreciate the citizens giving me the opportunity. 

In 1970, the first year I ran, I lost by four votes. So, in 1972 I ran again and I got the highest number of votes of anybody then on council. It was tough at first, and during the first two years on council I just sat there. I didn’t say much. I wanted to learn, so I thought if I keep my mouth shut, I’ll learn.

SERVICE WITH HEART

Most of the council people I served with are good-hearted people. They really had the borough at heart. I learned a lot from those people. And as I said, I kept my mouth shut and I listened.

I’m really grateful to the people of the borough for giving me this opportunity to serve on council and as mayor. But now I’ve turned 91 years old, and I’m having health problems. I always said, if I couldn’t perform my duties, it’s time for me to leave. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Oh, I’m still going to be around. I’ll be voting as long as I can. If they’ll take my vote, my mail-in vote, I’ll be here.

I certainly hope the new incoming mayor and the persons on council will serve their borough like I did, with heart. Not always are things going to go well, but you just keep trying. You never give up. Sure, we’ll still have people that aren’t satisfied, but that goes with the positions of the offices that you hold.

We have good elected council people, men and women. They’re doing a great job. And I certainly pray and hope for their good health and happiness to continue operating this little borough as they have. So to them, take my advice: don’t forget who your bosses are. It’s the citizens of the borough. They elected you. And the money that you get doesn’t just give you the opportunity to go every month to a meeting to collect your salary and say you earned it. No, that is their money. That’s the citizens’ money.

LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE

So to the incoming council people, listen to the people. Listen, no matter what. Given the opportunity, don’t cut them off, let them speak within reason to hear their concerns. And you’d be surprised how much you will learn by listening to the people and their complaints, etcetera. Everybody isn’t going to like you. But don’t take your spite out on those people. Treat them with respect.

Many times I would be approached in stores, and citizens would start complaining to me. And I’d say, please, I’ll take your complaints to council, but there are seven council people plus the mayor. I would like for you to go face each one of them in person and let them hear your complaints–and justify your complaints–or whatever it is you disagree with. But if you do disagree with them, have some respect for them, too. Everybody on council doesn’t know exactly what’s going on with all the issues in the borough. And there are rules and regulations they have to follow as a council persons.

Showing respect toward each other is the only way we’re going to make our borough a better place to live and to have a better understanding of things. Our officials need to understand the people. When you meet them on the street, say hello and speak to them with respect. And like I say, they’re the people that can put you in office or they can take you out of office.

So believe me, this is something that I’ve learned. Whether I agreed or disagreed, liked or disliked a person, I would never get smart with them. I would treat them with respect, knowing that they’re why I’m in office. These people put me there, and they can take me out of office just as quick as they put me in.

GET INVOLVED

I’d like to say this to the young people: get involved with your politics. You know, new life brings surprises. It seems that with older people we’re just settled in, but young people can bring up new ideas. We need to listen to them. Don’t downgrade them. Listen to them and treat them with respect and hope for the best. We’ll be surprised by just how much we’ll learn.

We older people, we’re fading away into the sunset. We need you young people in the borough to carry on and keep our little borough some place proud to be a part of. Get involved in politics. Don’t sit back and just criticize. If you can, attend council meetings and listen to what’s going on. Listen to how people conduct our meetings. Listen to what they say and what they do, and how they say it and how they do it. You may be really surprised. So please get involved. This is your borough. You have to take good care of it.

MOVING FORWARD

We’re a small borough, about one mile square. But there’s still room. I’d like to see some more businesses come into the borough. Years ago we lost the B&W plant, but that’s no reason to sit back and say all is lost. Keep thriving. We’ve had some nice businesses in the borough, and we’ve really benefited by them. So keep up the good work and entice businesses to come into the borough and be a part of the community. The only way this is going to work is if everybody works together for the good of the community.

THANK YOU, PAT

There’s one more thing I have to say, and this is directed to our borough secretary, Pat Landsberry, who has been our guiding light throughout the years to me and all on council. Thank you, Pat, from the bottom of my heart—and on behalf of everybody.

FAREWELL

All I can say, with humbleness, to the people in the Borough of West Mayor who allowed me to serve all these years in the position of councilman and as mayor: I loved every bit of it, every minute of it. God bless each and every one of you citizens and those sitting on council and in the mayor’s position. It was an honor for me to serve with each and every one of you. May God be merciful to each of you and continue to give you the opportunity to make our little borough of West Mayfield great again.