Bobby Henon served for 12 years as political director of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, using the union muscle to help elect numerous candidates.
Henon made his first bid for office last year, and it was a successful one. He won the 6th Councilmanic District seat.
He officially took office Monday morning during a ceremony at the Academy of Music, when he was sworn in with 16 other members by Common Pleas Court President Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe.
“I’m excited about getting to work,” he said. “I’m going to hit the ground running.”
Henon, an East Torresdale resident who’ll turn 43 on Jan. 11, is replacing the retired Joan Krajewski, who endorsed Marty Bednarek in the Democratic primary.
The new councilman’s office is in Room 484 City Hall, the former office of new Council President Darrell Clarke.
During the swearing-in ceremony, Henon “proudly and with great honor” nominated Clarke for the presidency and escorted him to the rostrum after his election.
“It was a pleasure nominating Darrell,” he said later.
Councilman Curtis Jones is majority leader. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is majority whip.
The 6th district office phone numbers will remain the same as Krajewski’s, 215-686-3444 (45). The fax number is 215-686-1935.
Following the ceremony, Henon held an open house in his office that featured Philadelphia favorites such as soft pretzels, Tastykakes and Peanut Chews. His wife Jill and sons Matt and Zach were among the family members and friends who gathered in the rather large office.
So far, he has made five staff hires.
The group includes Lisa Deeley, who worked 18 years for Alan Butkovitz when he was a state representative and in his current position as city controller. She’ll handle community outreach issues, dealing with recreation centers, senior citizen groups and civic associations.
Also on staff is Chris Creelman, an old Henon friend who’ll be chief of constituent service. He is the only holdover from Krajewski’s staff.
While Krajewski did not have a district office, Henon campaigned on a pledge to open one so constituents wouldn’t have to travel to Center City.
“I’m still looking, trying to identify a place and working things out with the city,” he said.
Henon expects to open the office in Tacony, perhaps on the struggling Torresdale Avenue commercial strip.
“One of my longer-term goals is revitalizing Tacony,” he said.
Henon will serve as chairman of the Public Property Committee. He will also serve on, among other committees, Parks and Recreation, Rules and Appropriations.
“With Fairmount Park and all the boys and girls clubs, I’m happy with the assignments,” he said. “I’ll be on ten committees. I’ll be busy.”
Council won’t be especially busy for the next few weeks, as members voted to adjourn until Jan. 26 following Monday’s ceremony.
Henon remains a “proud card-carrying Local 98 member,” but will no longer serve as political director, as the union looks to focus more on business development.
“I’m going to be a full-time councilman,” he said.
There are at least two issues that dominate talk in the district.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment has still not ruled on an appeal by neighbors opposed to a decision by the Department of Licenses and Inspections to grant permits to a group that plans to open a methadone clinic at Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street.
Some neighbors are exploring the possibility of allowing the clinic to open in a more remote location, such as State Road.
“I’m opposed to both locations,” Henon said.
Also, the former Liddonfield Homes housing project site remains vacant.
Henon has met with community leaders. One promising plan involves a mixed use that would include NCAA-approved athletic fields for Holy Family University.
The councilman hopes the approved plan includes tenants that will create jobs and serve as a good neighbor and partner to the Upper Holmesburg area.
“Several developers have interest, but the community groups I’ve talked to tell me they favor Holy Family expanding its footprint,” he said. ••EndFragment