SCRANTON, Pa. -- Scranton City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to appoint Councilman Wayne Evans as interim mayor to replace disgraced former Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright.
Evans will serve as mayor of Scranton until January of 2020 when a new mayor chosen in a special election in November will be sworn in.
Evans was one of 16 applicants for the position that opened up when Courtright resigned before his guilty plea on federal corruption charges.
Evans' appointment during Wednesday afternoon's City Council meeting wasn't exactly a surprise. He was long rumored to be the pick even before council interviewed 13 other people for the position on Monday.
Evans will serve until the first week of January when a newly elected mayor takes over.
The vote for Evans was a move most at the meeting expected but not everyone supported.
"I know you people already have your mind made up," said city resident Les Spindler. "I'll be shocked if it's not Councilman Evans. I think that's the wrong choice. He already showed that he's dishonest when he was picked to fill Councilman Loscombe's slot and he said he wouldn't run for council again and he did."
Evans, a Republican, says he will not run for mayor in November, a condition of his temporary appointment. He will serve for the next five months.
Evans was picked over 13 other candidates who were interviewed.
"We need someone who is ready and prepared on day one, and I believe that Councilman Evans is that person," said council member Bill Gaughan.
"It's certainly not a time for a political decision," said council president Pat Rogan. "This is a decision on who is the most qualified candidate. There are many great candidates that put in, but I don't think anyone can argue that Mr. Evans was not the most qualified."
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Evans is filling the office vacated by former mayor Bill Courtright who resigned amid a guilty plea to federal public corruption charges earlier this month.
Evans says his first and maybe most important task will be restoring public trust.
"It just begins by every day doing the right thing," said Evans. "I think that I'm going to meet every single employee at some point in time. Certainly, cabinet members, I plan on meeting with them on Friday. Then I'm going to meet every individual cabinet member next week one on one. I want them to know, we're going to do this thing right. Everything we're going to do is going to be above board."
City Council will now choose someone to fill Evans' term on council which expires at the end of the year.