Sileo Exits Uniontown Mayor's Office

Article excerpt

After 20 years in Uniontown politics, Mayor James Sileo soon will be stepping down, but he has no plans to leave the city he loves.

Sileo was first elected to Uniontown City Council in 1988, the lone Democrat on a council of Republicans. He was charged with overseeing what he called the "hotbed" of the city, the sanitation department, mainly because of Act 101, Pennsylvania's Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, which mandates recycling in the state's larger municipalities.

Recycling was something new in 1988, and Sileo said when new things are introduced, negative attitudes and naysayers come with them.

"You just have to work hard at it and have a good attitude," Sileo said.

It's been the mantra for his political career.

After serving on council for eight years, Sileo wasn't pleased with what was going on in Uniontown and thought it was time for a change.

In 1996 he ran a successful campaign against incumbent Charles Machesky and was elected Uniontown's mayor.

In his three terms -- 12 years as mayor of the city -- Sileo said his biggest accomplishment was the revitalization of the downtown area.

Sileo recalled an encounter with the late philanthropist Robert Eberly during the first year of his term as mayor.

"He said, 'Mayor, just do me one favor: just do the right thing,'" Sileo said. "I think I held to that promise."

Sileo said he was happy with the help that came from both Eberly and Fayette County Commissioner Joe Hardy, who both contributed to the downtown revitalization, as well as the others who worked hard for the city.

Sileo said other improvements to Uniontown include renovations to the State Theatre Center for the Arts, the newly established Storey Square, the parking garage across from city hall, Marshall Plaza, and the new police station along Penn Street. …