Thomas P. O'Connor now is the city treasurer.
The former City Council president, accountant and businessman was appointed by council Thursday night to serve the final 16 months of the four-year term vacated last month by Shirley Lord.
Council members had two choices and admitted the process of talking with each candidate was rushed by the need to name Lord's successor within 30 days of her last day as required by law.
Thomas P. O’Connor, right, takes the oath of office Thursday from Judge Dudley Anderson. O’Connor is the city’s new treasurer.
The other candidate for the position was Lenora Georges, who was nominated by the county Republican Party to succeed Lord.
"I'm disappointed," she said, as she and her husband left at the end of the meeting, adding only that she is not planning to run for the position in next year's election.
The vote was 6-1 and came after no real debate. Councilman Skip Smith voted for Georges but waited to the end of the meeting to allege O'Connor's selection would be the most costly of the two choices.
According to Smith, O'Connor's appointment will increase his annual city pension from the current $1,136 for his years on council to about $13,000 after the coming 16 months. If he wins election to a full term, his pension will increase to about $16,600 annually, Smith said.
He went on to say the city is not able to control pensions negotiated in the past with the police and other unionized employees.
"But here's a pension we can control," he added, "(and) chose not to do it."
Several council members suggested afterward that if Smith wanted the issue debated, he should have raised it before the vote.
O'Connor said he "never really thought" about what impact the position would have on his pension.
Smith said his information came from a City Hall office but would not specify which, other than to stress it was not the mayor's office.
"It came from the proper office that has the facts," he insisted.
Councilwoman Gerry Fausnaught dismissed Smith's tactics. "I think it's more important to have the most qualified person," she said.
"We chose the person we felt was most qualified," concurred Council President J. Marlyne Whaley.
First-term Councilman Randall Allison expressed concern for having to make a decision on short notice and didn't find Smith's tactics useful.
"Assuming that it's accurate information," he said, "it was brought forward too late in the process, (and) we still had an obligation to choose the most competent."
After taking the oath of office from former councilman and now Judge Dudley Anderson, O'Connor said he is looking forward to working with council and the administration. He also commended the Republican Party's city committee members and executive committee for their work.
"I think it was fair," he said of the process.
City restaurant gets liquor license
City Council gave its OK Thursday for a downtown restaurant to obtain a liquor license.
By a 7-0 vote, council approved the transfer of a license from Plunkett's Creek Township to Ozzie and Mae's Hacinda, a West Fourth Street restaurant specializing in Mexican-style food.
The business from which the license is being acquired was not named during the public hearing that preceded council's vote.
There were no objections to the transfer raised by the public or city officials.
One housekeeping matter on the agenda unanimously extended the lifespan of the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority to at least 2060 in order to provide assurance it will operate long enough to repay debts being incurred for system improvements.