435 Hamilton Street  
Allentown, Pa. 18101  
Minutes - Final  
City Council  
Wednesday, June 1, 2022  
6:00 PM  
Council Chambers  
Roll Call  
7 -  
Candida Affa, Cynthia Mota, Daryl Hendricks, Ed Zucal, Ce-Ce Gerlach, Joshua  
Siegel, and Natalie Santos  
Appointment of the Public Works Director  
Mayor Matt Tuerk stated that is who we wanted to bring forward to Council to asked them  
to confirm Mr. Shahda for the Department of Public Works. He stated that he wants to  
give Mark a chance to speak to you all to tell you a little about himself and his vision and  
answer any questions that you might have.  
Mr. Mark Shahda thanked Mayor Tuerk and stated good evening City Council. He  
thanked them for given him an opportunity to speak to them this evening. He thanked  
Mayor Tuerk and Mr. Lightner for affording him the opportunity for him to serve as Acting  
Public Works Director for the past three months. He stated that mayor's confidence in  
his ability is truly humbling. He expressed his deepest appreciation to his incredible  
family, his community, colleagues and employees within the city of Allentown for their  
continued support. He stated that he is bilingual Syrian American, born and raised in the  
city of Allentown. Growing up in the sixth ward, his two siblings and he were raised by a  
loving mother and father. As an Allentown School District student, he attended Sheridan  
Elementary School, Harrison Morton Middle School, before finally graduating from Dieruff  
High School in 1994. He briefly highlighted his career with the city of Allentown. He  
dedicated the last 24 years of his life to our beautiful city and more specifically the  
Public Works Department. He started his career as a Maintenance Worker I in 1998.  
He diligently worked his way up through the rank and file in the union. In 2008, through  
his dedication and commitment to the job he earned a position within the management  
team. He was then promoted through every level of management within the Streets  
Department which provided me the opportunity to engage with many facets of  
management. In 2012, he became the Streets Superintendent, in 2013, most notably  
the Stormwater Program was integrated into the Streets Department as per the  
Concession Lease Agreement with LCA. During the transitional period, his team and him  
were able to successfully integrate and unify a new program with 20 new employees into  
the Streets Department. They established key internal functions and outlined scope of  
positions for the newly created program. In 2019, he became the Director of Public  
Works and as you can see from the Confirmation memo, he had an opportunity to learn  
more in-depth about the Public Works Department and this evening he is truly honored  
and enthusiastic to step into the role of Director. He looks forward to leading and  
working side by side with our talented managers and more importantly our hardworking  
Mr. Ed Zucal stated that he would just like to say that there is no question in his mind  
that he is the best person for the job. As long as he has known him he has been a  
standup guy and always has taken your job seriously. He is very honored to be able to  
vote yes.  
Mr. Daryl Hendricks stated that he has known Mark Shahda since he has been on the  
job here. He stated that he has been with the city for almost 45 years. He always found  
him to be responsible, competent, and has always conducted himself in a professional  
manner. He stated that many times that he has reached out to him for information or  
things that needed to get done and he was always spot on and very confident about them  
and they will get done. He stated that he had a pothole in front of his house and sent Mr.  
Shahda an email on a Sunday night and on Monday morning a crew was there taking care  
of it. No matter what it is. Just today, he had to get in touch with him. One of the signs  
were knocked down at one of our high schools. That was at 2:00 o'clock. Tonight, he  
advised me that it is taken care of and replaced. That is the kind of leadership and  
professionalism he has been all the time that he has known him. He hoped that and is  
pleased that he is the final product as you are. He stated that he is very pleased. He  
certainly encouraged his colleagues to vote for him also.  
Mr. Joshua Siegel congratulated Mr. Shahda and stated that he intends to vote for him.  
He commended the administration for selecting a lifelong Allentonian, born and bread  
here. Educated here in the city. You are on the eastside as well which is nice.  
Mayor Matt Tuerk stated that if he could add to that, the administration made a  
commitment to diversity in the cabinet. That is to geographical diversity. He is very  
proud that his cabinet has an eastsider, born and bread eastside in Vicky Kistler, we are  
going to add someone from the wards in Mark Shahda, and our Chief Roca is from the  
southside. We have people working in our cabinet representing all geographic aspects of  
our city. He added that they have been very proud of their ethnic diversity that is present  
in our city by cabinet. We have two African Americans members of the cabinet. He  
have two members of the cabinet that have Latino heritage. We are proud and he does  
not know if this is the case, maybe one of our Council historians can confirm that. He  
believes that this is the first Syrian American member of the City of Allentown cabinet  
which is a tremendous accomplishment for a community that is so important to this city's  
history. You are right to point out the Mark is a born and bread Allentonian and is  
somebody that came from the wards and represents a truly importance of our city's  
Mr. Joshua Siegel thanked the mayor for stealing some of his thunder. He stated that he  
wanted to point some of that out, but the mayor said it very studiously. He stated that he  
is glad to see the Syrian community in Allentown has somebody that they could look into,  
who came from the ranks and helping out in the summer in the parks and worked their  
way to the top of the cabinet. That is an inspiration. It is a testament of what the city  
can be for so many of our residents. It is an opportunity to grow our own and provide  
family sustaining jobs to our residents, good benefits and an opportunity for professional  
advancement, help people fulfill their passion and public service. he stated that he  
hopes that they can work with Council and the administration to make that a model of the  
department and throughout the city. It affords us an opportunity. He stated that he  
dreams of a day when every person in Allentown can fulfill every job in Allentown. We  
can be a city that is lead and governed and guided by people who cherish the city and  
loves the city and live in the city. From a professional standpoint there is not a better  
pick. The mayor made a good decision and Mr. Shahda has been extraordinarily  
responsible to him at the time that he reached out and would continue your excellent here  
in terms of constituent service and making sure the city serves its taxpayers and is  
responsive and receptive. He stated that he looks forward to working with him on his  
time on Council. He stated to make sure the city is innovative in the city when it comes  
to Public Works, in terms of sustainability, how we make our infrastructure cutting edge  
and new age whether it is our stormwater management and making sure we are prepping  
for climate change and the effects of change and change in weather patterns and  
increase in waterfalls. He stated that he knows that they will bring the ingenuity in the  
spirit of innovation to that. You stated that Mr. Shahda will be hard and dedicated in  
making sure that we are a topnotch city and cutting edge leading the way. He stated that  
he definitely looks forward to not only casting his vote for him, but working with him.  
Mr. Mark Shahda thanked Mr. Siegel and stated likewise.  
Ms. Cynthia Mota stated well said Mr. Siegel.  
Ms. Candida Affa congratulated Mr. Shahda. She stated that all of the directors make  
Council look good. When the residents call and Council calls the directors and it is  
taken care of immediately. It wasn't her. She stated that has happened many times with  
Mr. Shahda and Mr. Messinger. She stated that she has to echo Mr. Hendricks  
comments because they are all very true. You make a phone call and out of all the  
departments, all the phone calls we get are for Public Works for pothole and sweep.  
There are so many departments. She stated that she has known Mr. Shahda since she  
has been on Council and have seen each other at so many meetings with Mr. Messinger.  
She stated to Mayor Tuerk, good choice and congratulations. She stated that she will be  
happy to work with him.  
Mr. Mark Shahda stated likewise. He looks forward to it.  
Ms. Cynthia Mota stated that she agrees with her fellow Councilmembers. She stated  
that Mr. Shahda is reliable and very respectable. She stated that someone can county  
on him all the time. One of the things she liked the most is when he mentioned he went  
to Harrison Morton and he went to Dieruff. She also went to Harrison Morton and Dieruff.  
She stated that she is glad that they are picking Allentonians. Ever since she became a  
Councilmember she has been asking for that. We have to grow our own. Seeing this  
happen makes her very happy. She stated that her vote will be yes and congratulations.  
Ms. Ce Ce Gerlach stated that everybody else did. She stated that she does not have a  
speech planned. She stated congratulations, everything has already been said. She  
looks forward to working with him.  
Mr. Mark Shahda stated likewise Ms. Gerlach. Thank you.  
Ms. Natalie Santos stated that she has not gotten the pleasure to formally meet Mr.  
Shahda yet, but she is excited to work with him. Congratulations.  
Mr. Mark Shahda thanked Ms. Santos. He stated that he wants to take a quick minute  
to thank his team, his family that came out to support him this evening. Thank you.  
Mr. Ed Zucal stated that he did not see anything about a salary.  
Mr. Michael Hanlon stated that he has the Resolution and asked do you want me to read  
it. Mr. Hanlon read the Resolution.  
Mr. Ed Zucal asked Mr. Shahda if he is satisfied with that.  
Mr. Mark Shahda stated that he is happy with that.  
Mr. Ed Zucal stated that is all that counts. He asked what was the salary of the former  
Public Works Director.  
Mayor Matt Zucal stated that he does not have that at his immediate disposal. He stated  
that it probably can be answered pretty quickly. It was north of $125,000.  
Mr. Ed Zucal stated that if you are comfortable with that, we can always address it at  
budget time. He asked if there were any comments from the public.  
Mr. Ryan Hunsicker, Chapter Leader SEIU, echoed all seven members of Council for  
their support for Mr. Shahda. He thinks it is a wonderful choice. He stated that he  
supports Mr. Shahda 100 percent. He looks forward to meeting with him and continue to  
do business as they have always done and move forward for the best of the city.  
7 -  
Candida Affa, Cynthia Mota, Daryl Hendricks, Ed Zucal, Ce-Ce Gerlach, Joshua  
Siegel, and Natalie Santos  
Enactment No: 30443