New mayor in Bradford Woods short on experience but long on enthusiasm for job
Bob Murray realizes his job as the new mayor of Bradford Woods carries with it a rather high degree of responsibility.
If a council vote ends in a tie, he can break the tie. That's a big deal, he points out, so he has spent quite a bit of time during his first weeks as mayor just reading up on the important issues of the 1-square-mile borough.
He is also trying to fill the shoes of Ted Fithian, a man who was mayor for 26 years and much-loved and respected by the residents of his community.
"People don't realize what being mayor means," Mr. Murray said. "There haven't been that many mayors. To be one is ... it's amazing."
While the seriousness of the office looms large for this political newcomer, Mr. Murray is also embracing the job's benefits.
"I get to marry people. Can you believe that?" Mr. Murray said, chuckling. And there will be parades and dedications. Most of all, Mr. Murray looks forward to just listening to people.
"Sometimes, that's all that people want: someone to listen to them," he said.
Mr. Murray moved to Bradford Woods in 1971 with his wife, Sandy. They raised four children and enjoyed all the benefits of living in a small community where people genuinely care for each other.
"Even though it's small, people are not in each other's business. We are not trying to keep up with the Joneses," he said. "It's the kind of place where once you live here for awhile, you forget you've lived anywhere else."
Mr. Murray, who oversees scheduling and shipping for a refractory company in Moon, comes to the job as mayor with no political experience. He ran for council in the '70s but lost by 14 votes.
He said he never tried again because he wanted to focus on raising his family.
Mary Ann Moretti, the borough manager, said Mr. Murray's character will more than make up for his lack of political experience.
"He's well-known and everybody likes him," she said. "He's good and kind and he cares."
After Mr. Fithian's death in September, a "concerned citizen" suggested to Mr. Murray that he might make a good replacement. Mr. Murray thought about it and submitted his application to council.
He was sworn in Nov. 10 to fulfill the former mayor's term, which runs through 2009. Mr. Murray said he intends to run for mayor in next year's municipal election. If he wins, his term would last through 2014.
Rather than a political history, Mr. Murray said, he'll bring to the office the desire to do what's right for his community.
"Kids who were brought up here are moving back with their kids," he said. "I want them to have the same thing we had."
So far, Mr. Murray said his first few weeks as mayor have been rewarding.
"It's been fun," he said. "I'm really excited about it."
First Published December 7, 2008 12:00 am