WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. – Whitehall Township welcomed two new commissioners Monday night. Two incumbents and Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. also started new terms.
The new officeholders sworn in, Randy Atiyeh and Charles Fisher, are both 32.
Atiyeh is a 2006 graduate of Whitehall High School and assistant principal at William Allen High School in Allentown.
"I plan to give something back to the community that raised me," Atiyeh said after Monday night's meeting of the commissioners.
As a school administrator, he has an interest in youth activities but he said he hopes to help all residents through public service.
Fisher is a native of Scranton. After earning degrees at Marywood University, he completed a doctorate at Lehigh University in cellular and molecular biology. He works for 4G Environmental Corp., which supplies microorganisms that can help treat waste such as sewage.
"I want to get more people involved in this township," Fisher said. Whitehall needs volunteers for recreation programs, clubs and commissions. "If more people are involved, the township can be an ever better place to live," he said.
Incumbent commissioners Philip Ginder and Jeffrey Warren were also sworn in, along with Harakal. The mayor was appointed in 2018 to fill an unexpired term, and won the election in November. Harakal served the township as executive from 1984 to 1992, when Whitehall had a different form of government.
The commissioners voted in Ginder as president, Joseph Marx Jr. as vice president and Thomas Slonaker as secretary.
With just six commissioners – Ginder, Marx, Slonaker, Warren, Atiyeh and Fisher – one spot remains open due to the earlier resignation of Shawn Clary.
Harakal said candidates for the seventh spot will be interviewed Feb. 3 and an appointment will be made Feb. 11.
The commissioners also appointed the law firm of Gross McGinley as solicitor; Keystone Consulting Engineers Inc. as Whitehall's engineering firm; Scott Lipson as counsel to the tax appeals board; and Williams Fries as counsel to the zoning hearing board.
In cases involving a township development that presents a conflict of interest for Keystone, Lehigh Engineering Associates will serve as engineering firm, and Kevin Fogerty would serve as conflict attorney.