After thanking his family and campaign staff for helping him get to this day, and thanking outgoing Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott for a smooth transition, new Erie Mayor Joe Schember laid out his vision for the city, and asked everyone in the region to join him in becoming part of the solution.

With his wife Rhonda and two of his three children looking on, Joe Schember took the oath of office in a standing room only crowd at city council chambers. The oath was administered by the Honorable John Cherry, Court of Common Pleas Judge from Dauphin County, a life-long friend of Schember since the two men attended seminary together.

Mayor Schember began his remarks with a pledge to aggressively implement the Erie Refocused Comprehensive Plan, seeking substantive input from every Erie neighborhood over his first 100 days in office.

He also promised a good line of communication to all seven members of Erie City Council, offering access to him, and a chance to ask questions and give input prior to any city actions and decisions.

Then the mayor asked everyone in the packed council chamber to close their eyes, and catch a glimpse of the transformation he envisions for Erie:

"I’d like you all to just close your eyes for a minute and imagine these things, first Erie is a city with unlimited high tech family sustaining jobs, our children and other graduates of our local universities stay in Erie to work, and raise their families."

"We have a world class downtown where people live work and play, where innovators and entrepreneurs create new businesses."

"Every city neighborhood is safe and welcoming, where children play and neighbors know and help each other.  Our handling of the record December snow is a great example of how we can work together as community."

"Imagine families with young children moving to Erie to be a part of our great public school system."

"Imagine that every city hall employee works tirelessly and creatively to serve Erie residents and businesses."

"Imagine our larger region pulls together, there’s no more turf protection, no more silo mentality, we now collaborate as one for the good of this region."

"Finally, we are a city that lives the American Dream, a city where age, race, ethnicity, religion, heritage, gender, sexual preference and even which side of State Street you live on does not matter any more. We all respect and value each other, we work together for the good of all."

Before the inauguration ceremony ended, Mayor Schember asked a group of Erie Playhouse representatives, including former mayoral candidate Almi Clerkin to sing his favorite Beatles song, "Here Comes the Sun."  He said, "Starting today, I want every resident of Erie and the surrounding municipalities to start looking forward to our future with the hope and unbridled optimism expressed in the Beatle's song."  He concluded by asking everyone to join him in refining and implementing his vision for Erie's future.

Mayor Schember said he still has some key appointments to make, including a media liaison, and other positions in the Community and Economic Development office.