Mayor Phil Mitman announced Tuesday that he won't seek re-election, leaving Republicans scrambling for a candidate and Democrats counting their votes in the mostly Democratic city.
Despite the difficulties within City Hall, Mitman managed to help bring attention to the Lehigh Valley's smallest city through regionalized efforts at crime fighting and economic development. He also included more residents in the decision-making process, which sometimes created controversy and disgruntlement.
While he's still in office, Mitman said he's not backing down from anything he started, including the controversial Riverwalk condominium and bus terminal proposal.
In fact, he intends to start new initiatives to unite neighborhood groups and improve the environmental awareness of global warming issues.
The leading potential contender to replace Mitman as mayor, former Democratic Mayor Sal Panto Jr., said he has known for weeks that Mitman would not seek re-election.
But that has not helped him decide whether to commit to the race. Panto was mayor for eight years after Mitman's first four years in office. He lost the seat to former Republican Mayor Thomas F. Goldsmith.
State Rep. Bob Freeman, D-Northampton, said a number of his constituents have asked him to run for mayor, but he intends to continue serving them in Harrisburg.