J.J. Murphy – My Time in Wilkes-Barre, PA
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania is an industrial city located in the Northeastern part of the state. It is a part of the Wyoming Valley region. This area has also been referred to as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area due to the two principal cities that are located in it. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area is the fourth largest city in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Wyoming Valley is a part of the folded Appalachians. The Susquehanna River can be found in the southern part of the Wyoming Valley. In addition to these beautiful scenic landmarks, the Pocono Mountains shape the area from the east. The Poconos are an excellent travelling destination for anyone who loves nature and is perfect for anyone who enjoys camping.
The City of Wilkes-Barre and I share a memorable history. In my senior year of college I was hired as an intern for the City of Wilkes-Barre. After leaving active-duty, I was hired as an Assistant City Administrator from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2010, I served as the City Administrator of this wonderful city. During my time as the City Administrator of Wilkes-Barre, the Mayor, city staff and I accomplished quite a bit to improve the community.
Wilkes-Barre is a very nice place to visit. There are plenty of restaurants, shops, businesses, and parks to explore. However, before Tom Leighton became Mayor and appointed me City Administrator the downtown area was in a major rut. The downtown area of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was stagnant and businesses were hesitant to return due to safety concerns. Downtown Wilkes-Barre had streetlights which were falling, insufficient infrastructure, and other hazardous activity.
During my tenure, with the help of Mayor Leighton, city staff, City Council, and many private partners who had all committed to investing in the community, the downtown Wilkes-Barre area transformed significantly. By securing grant money we were able to make favorable changes for the City and even increased Wilkes-Barre’s police force by hiring 26 new police officers. Before I left, Wilkes-Barre had a safer environment for its citizens, business owners, students and visitors.
Because of all that I had experienced in Wilkes-Barre, beginning as a college freshman, intern, graduate student, commissioned officer, Assistant City Administrator and then becoming the youngest City Administrator in Wilkes-Barre’s history, I will always have a strong bond with the community.
I currently am the City Manager in Hobbs, New Mexico. Hobbs is a booming community located in Lea County and experiencing exponential growth. It is my hope that with my previous city manager experience, I can provide Hobbs with as much efficiency and leadership as I did for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.