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May 4, 2013

Candidate’s death leaves one contestant for mayor

— Frank Janakovic will, almost certainly, be Johnstown’s next elected mayor.

Current Mayor Tom Trigona, a Democrat, decided to not seek re-election this year.

Even with the opening, only two individuals entered the race: Janakovic and Anthony Gergely, both Democrats. No Republicans are seeking the seat in the May 21 primary.

However, Gergely died on April 26 at age 79, leaving Janakovic as the only candidate.

Janakovic was quick to compliment Gergely, who worked to beautify the city, most notably by getting vintage-style streetlights installed on local bridges.

“He did a lot of good things for the community; the bridge lighting,” Janakovic said. “He had his heart in the community. Honestly, he was trying to do good for the community whether it was its streetlights or any project within the city that he saw was deficient or needed help. I think he was there to try to help and improve the city. … He’ll be missed.”

Barring an unforeseen occurrence such as a successful write-in campaign, Janakovic will become Johnstown’s mayor in January.

Janakovic is a member of City Council. His current term is set to expire in January 2016. If he becomes mayor, a position considered a first-among-equals role on council, Janakovic will not have to run again until 2017.

As mayor, Janakovic says one of his main goals would be uniting citizens, government officials and community organizations in a shared mission of improving the city.

“As mayor, I hope to do a concerted effort to bring business and government together to work together – to be able to involve city and citizens and the communities – so we’re all working on the same page,” Janakovic said.

“There are a lot of good groups and organizations within the city. It would be giving them some joint direction, really kind of bringing everybody together to the table to work together and not in separate projects in separate directions.”

He has formed a ticket with four City Council candidates: Rose Howarth, Marie Mock, Nunzio Johncola and Anthony “Red” Pinizzotto. They are competing in a nine-candidate Democratic field, along with Pete Vizza, Charles DiFalco, Ian Miller, Dave Vitovich and Jack Williams.

There are no Republicans running for city council. Four seats are open this year.

“The campaign, at this point, is going to shift for me to the point where I’m campaigning as a team,” said Janakovic. “It’s not just Frank Janakovic for mayor, right now. We’re working as a team that we feel is going to improve Johnstown and work together.”

Janakovic is executive director of Alternative Community Resource Program, an organization with more than 325 employees, who assist children, individuals with mental and behavioral health concerns and others in the community.

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