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It’s unanimous: Kane to return as W-B City Council head

Cronauer, seen as chair hopeful, not mentioned at reorganization.

Kathy Kane is sworn in as council chairwoman by W-B City Clerk Jim Ryan, center, Monday at City Hall. Holding Bible is outgoing Chairman Bill Barrett.

Pete g. wilcox/the times leader

WILKES-BARRE – Councilwoman Kathy Kane has returned to the post of chairwoman for the Wilkes-Barre City Council.

Kane has served as chairwoman three times previously and one term as vice chairwoman.

Councilman Mike Merritt will serve as vice chairman and run council meetings in Kane’s absence.

The elections for both posts were unanimous at 5-0 during a reorganization meeting Monday at City Hall. Councilman Bill Barrett served as chairman, and Councilman Rick Cronauer was vice chairman in 2010.

Kane and Merritt said their ultimate goal for this year is to not raise taxes.

“I enjoy what I do. If we need anything, we get it almost immediately. We have good things going on here in the city,” Kane said

She said she wants to ensure the city remains financially solvent and doesn’t fall into the problems several other cities throughout the state have faced by being financially distressed. She commended Mayor Tom Leighton for helping the city experience a great year in 2010.

Fellow Councilman Tony Thomas Jr. agreed with Kane saying, “under Tom Leighton as mayor we have got a lot accomplished.”

Cronauer was at one time considered to be a contender for the chairman’s role. His name was not brought up for discussion during the reorganization meeting.

Kane, 60, was first elected to council in 2000 and Merritt was elected in 2008. Kane, a retired teacher, represents District C that encompasses the Heights, Mayflower and parts of downtown.

Merritt, 49, a strategic account support manager at InterMetro Industries, represents District E that encompasses the North End, half of Miners Mills and a portion of Parsons.

Kane said previously she is interested in seeking the city controller position that will be vacated by Bernie Mengeringhausen, who is not seeking re-election. Kane and Cronauer said they will officially announce their decisions later this month.

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