Maureen Zavislak brings energy and spunk to mayoral position

By Jimmy Fisher - jfisher@timesleader.com
Zavislak -

LAFLIN — Maureen Zavislak doesn’t bring much political experience to her new role as mayor, but what she lacks in experience she makes up for in energy and enthusiasm.

Zavislak, 43, took over as mayor after she was appointed by council during the reorganization meeting on Jan. 2.

Her appointment comes after the resignation of former borough mayor Dorothy Yazurlo, who held the position for nearly 10 years and had two years remaining on her term.

Zavislak said she had made it known she was planning to run for mayor for 2020, but Yazurlo’s resignation gave way for her to take the position sooner she anticipated.

“When she put in her resignation, the council members that are on the board now came to me and said ‘Dorothy has resigned, would you like to be appointed as mayor?” Zavislak said. “I was a little shocked at first because I was waiting to run, but I told them I’d be really honored and it would be a privilege to serve with them.”

Zavislak was born and raised in Laflin Borough and graduated from Bishop Hoban High School (now Holy Redeemer High School).

She attended LCCC, King’s College and College Misericordia (now Misericordia University) and studied Elementary Education before switching her studies to Business.

After college, she worked for ACME Markets, then Blue Cross Blue Shield, followed by Social Security and then a law firm.

Zavislak became ill in 2016, preventing her from working full-time. She was recently diagnosed with Dysautonomia, which, according to clevelandclinic.org, is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) function that generally involves failure of the sympathetic or parasympathetic components of the ANS, but dysautonomia involving excessive or overactive ANS actions also can occur.

According to Medical News Today, symptoms include fainting, cardiovascular issues and breathing problems. It is linked to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

“I’m not someone who just does nothing and I wanted to try things from home,” Zavislak said. “I was making natural, organic bathroom body products and doing consulting for the disabled. My husband and I have a martial arts school and I found this company, Damsel in Defense, and if we took the products from that and put it together with the martial arts school, we can teach women’s self defense classes.”

Zavislak said she wanted to run for mayor to bring change to the borough.

“There needed to be a little bit of a change,” she said. “We needed something a little different and we needed new programs offered. It was the same thing over and over again, and I was helping the current council with the upcoming elections and the (police) regionalization going on. We discussed everything going on and they said I’d make a great mayor. I thought about it a little bit, talked to my husband, my son and my dad, and they said I should do this.”

Police regionalization has been a hot topic in Laflin Borough as residents and council members have voiced their concerns about combining police forces with neghboring municipalities.

The Laflin Borough Police Department was disbanded in 2014, and state police have been covering the borough ever since.

Zavislak is against regionalization and did research on how the borough has fared under coverage from the state police.

According to her research, in 2016, only five reports of criminal mischief were reported all year.

“Why are we paying all of this money for police presence when PSP is doing a fantastic job” They’re patrolling our town, and everything happening outside on Highway 315 and Interstate 81,” she said. “Everyone is complaining that we’re paying nothing to have PSP. We have under 4,000 residents, so we don’t have to pay the $25 per person — but we would gladly do that. Everyone is also saying that we don’t want to pay our share by having a police department. Why would we need one? We had five crimes that are real crimes.”

She said the borough is pulling out of joining the regionalization, and she hopes the topic will be put to rest.

“We have no reason to look into it at this point in time,” Zavislak said.

A mayor’s primary job is working with the police department, but since Laflin has no police, Zavislak said she will turn her focus to the volunteer fire department.

She wants to help find ways for the department to get money, whether through grants or fundraisers.

“I’d like to do some things where that money goes back to the volunteer fire department,” Zavislak said. “Whether it’d be equipment or training, or whatever the case may be. I’ve already talked to Marc Malvizzi, our fire chief, and we have some things in the work there.”

Zavislak is also in the process of organizing various events such as a basketball camp, a food truck festival, and a field day in which residents can bring their own picnic lunch.

“I really like the old school values and have everybody get to know each other,” she said. “It’s weird when you go outside and you don’t know your neighbors.”

With a full two years ahead of her, Zavislak is ready to bring her A game to the mayoral role and let residents know they are in good hands.

“I want people to have a really fun time and let themselves go,” she said. “I want them to learn they can do whatever they set their goals to. Girls can be firefighters; boys can be ballet dancers. I mean, look at me. I can’t do the typical job, but I may be doing something at 4:00 in the morning because I have terrible insomnia. I may not be able to stand up to do what I need to do, but I kick (butt).”

Zavislak
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_RGB_TTL010318Laflin_1toned.jpgZavislak
Police regionalization will not happen under her term

By Jimmy Fisher

jfisher@timesleader.com

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher