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Stephen R. Reed

For other people with the same name, see Steve Reed (disambiguation).

Stephen Russell Reed (August 9, 1949 – January 25, 2020) was the longest-serving mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Dubbed "Mayor-for-Life," he was re-elected to seven four-year terms, serving from 1982 to 2010. Reed died on January 25, 2020 in Harrisburg at the age of 70. After leaving office, Reed faced charges on nearly 500 counts of theft, fraud and corruption. He pled guilty to 20 charges and was sentenced to probation.

Stephen R. Reed
Member of thePennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 103rd district
In office
January 7, 1975 – November 19, 1980
Preceded byGeorge Gekas
Succeeded byPeter C. Wambach
Mayor of Harrisburg
In office
January 5, 1982 – January 4, 2010
Preceded byPaul E. Doutrich Jr.
Succeeded byLinda D. Thompson
Personal details
Born
Stephen Russell Reed

(1949-08-09)August 9, 1949
Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
DiedJanuary 25, 2020(2020-01-25) (aged 70)
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
Residence212 Cumberland St,
Harrisburg, PA 17102

Contents

Reed was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. After moving to Harrisburg in the 1950s, Reed attended Bishop McDevitt High School, where he graduated in 1967. He went on to attend Dickinson College and was named a Finnegan Fellow in 1970. He did not graduate from Dickinson and later served as an emergency medical technician in Harrisburg, while pursuing his early political career.

Political life

Active in the Democratic Party as a teenager, Reed headed the Teenage Democrats of Pennsylvania, was Vice-President of the College Young Democrats of Pennsylvania, and was active in many civic activities. Among his early work experiences was a staff job for the Democratic Caucus in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

In the Democratic landslide victory year of 1974, when he was 25, Reed campaigned hard for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and upset four-term Republican incumbent George Gekas, who later became a Pennsylvania state senator and U.S. Congressman. He would go on to serve three terms as a member of the state's House of Representatives until 1980.

As Mayor

Re-elected to the state house in 1976 and 1978, Reed was elected Dauphin County, Pennsylvania Commissioner in 1979 and Mayor of Harrisburg in 1981. He won re-election as mayor in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005. During the 2000s, he was considered "Pennsylvania's most popular and successful mayor."

During Reed's tenure, restaurants, museums, hotels, several large office buildings and new residences were constructed within the city limits. Reed was instrumental in the city getting its minor league baseball team, the Harrisburg Senators, and later led the city to purchase the team when it was sold to a buyer who intended to move it out of the region.

Harrisburg is also known worldwide for its use of land value taxation. Harrisburg has taxed land at a rate six times that on improvements since 1975, and this policy has been credited by Reed, as well as by the city's former city manager during the 1980s, with helping reducing the number of vacant structures in downtown Harrisburg from about 4,200 in 1982 to less than 500.

Reed is credited with conceiving and developing Harrisburg's City Island park, the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, and the high school that accompanied it. He is the founder and driving force behind the construction of the $32 million National Civil War Museum in the city.

In 2000, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania placed Reed in charge of the failing Harrisburg School District, for which he imposed a massive reform and rehabilitation project. Most recently, in 2006 Reed was credited and recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reducing the city's flood risks.

Reed's successes are balanced by setback: population loss, mounting debt, and continued poverty remain challenges as Harrisburg's slow recovery continues. Those setbacks notwithstanding, in December 2006 the City Mayors organization recognized Reed's achievements by awarding him the bronze third place in its annual World Mayor competition.

Reed continued to bear strong criticism for purchases of historical Civil War and "American Old West" artifacts with public funds. The artifact purchases were intended for use in a planned Old West Museum, part of a larger plan by Reed to develop a "critical mass" of national and historically focused museums in Harrisburg, centered on the National Civil War Museum. Plans for the Old West Museum met strong public opposition and Reed placed the plans on hold, commissioning a public study (funded by an auction of some of the artifacts) to review the feasibility of the museum.

Reed faced similar criticism when acquiring artifacts for the National Civil War Museum. Opponents and critics are most critical about the methods Reed used to fund the purchases without public oversight: "Every time the independent Harrisburg Authority floats bonds for the Harrisburg school district and other government agencies, it collects a fee and deposits it into an account. The mayor can draw on that account for any capital expense as long as he has the signatures of two members of the authority (all appointed by the mayor)."

Reed won reelection in 2005, unopposed, after winning the Democratic Primary against Jason N. Smith, a Harrisburg entrepreneur and outspoken critic of the Old West Museum and artifact purchases.

As late as January 2009, he was called "Mayor-for-life." In the May 2009 Democratic Primary, Reed lost his re-election bid to Harrisburg City Council president Linda Thompson.

Corruption Indictment and conviction

On July 14, 2015, Kathleen Kane, the Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania, announced 499 criminal charges against Reed for his activities involving the museums and the incinerator project. "This is one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption this office has investigated", Kane said. "Mayor Reed used taxpayer money to further his own interests. His conduct is at the root of the fiscal issues that continue to plague the city of Harrisburg today."

Reed was charged with diverting money from Harrisburg bond funds, including buying Wild West and Civil War memorabilia, some of which he hoarded in a private collection at his home, or sold for his own benefit. Noting his long tenure in office, Kane said as mayoral terms passed Reed came to disregard legal restraints on expenditures.

In response Reed said: "I devoted my life to the city of Harrisburg, and I look forward to waging a vigorous fight against these charges. There is much more to this story. It'll come out eventually. Just not today." Reed later said he had accidentally packed the items among his own when he left office.

The court dismissed 305 of the criminal charges for being beyond the statute of limitations. Reed pleaded guilty to 20 of the remaining felony and misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property. He was given no jail time, instead sentenced to two years' probation and a fine.

  1. "AG releases statement against former Harrisburg mayor". WGAL. July 14, 2015. RetrievedJuly 9, 2021.
  2. "Longtime Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed through the years: photo gallery". Pennlive.com. January 25, 2020. RetrievedJanuary 25, 2020.
  3. "PA Report 100"(PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 23, 2009. Archived from the original(PDF) on May 30, 2019.
  4. Charles Thompson (July 14, 2015). "Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R. Reed charged with bribery, theft and dozens more criminal charges". Pennlive.com. RetrievedAugust 12, 2015.
  5. Howard Sheppard (July 14, 2015). "Attorney General Kane says Reed charges one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption". Fox43.com. RetrievedAugust 12, 2015.
  6. Matt Miller (January 27, 2017). "Ex-Harrisburg Mayor Reed gets no jail time for stealing city artifacts". Pennlive.com. RetrievedJune 5, 2018.
  7. Matt Miller (January 27, 2017). "City 'disappointed' former Mayor Reed will serve no jail time: Eric Papenfuse". Pennlive.com. RetrievedJune 5, 2018.
  8. "The PA Report "Power 75" List"(PDF). Pennsylvania Report. Capital Growth, Inc. January 31, 2003. Archived from the original(PDF) on September 20, 2006.
  9. Clines, Francis X. (August 4, 2002). "Civil War Relics Draw Visitors, and Con Artists". New York Times. RetrievedOctober 4, 2010.
  10. "Harrisburg Mayor Recognized For Reducing City's Flood Risks". Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2006. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. RetrievedJanuary 14, 2007.
  11. vom Hove, Tann (2006). "John So, Lord Mayor of Melbourne wins the 2006 World Mayor Award". worldmayor.com/. RetrievedDecember 31, 2006.
  12. Schwartz, Jerry (2004). "City slicker aims for the Old West". AP/Washington Times. RetrievedMay 12, 2007.
  13. Miller, Dan (May 20, 2009). "Thompson trounces Reed for Democratic nomination for Harrisburg mayor". The Patriot News. RetrievedMay 20, 2009.
  14. Lawrance Binda (July 14, 2015). "Kane Releases Statement, Details Charges Against Reed - theBurg". theBurg. RetrievedAugust 12, 2015.
  15. Andrew Robinson (July 16, 2015). "Items seized from Gettysburg business linked to charges against former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed". Fox43.com. RetrievedAugust 12, 2015.
  16. Charles Thompson (July 14, 2015). "Harrisburg corruption charges portray former mayor Stephen Reed as unhinged from normal checks and balances". Pennlive.com. RetrievedAugust 12, 2015.
  17. Matt Miller (May 16, 2016). "Judge throws out 305 criminal charges against former Harrisburg PAmayor Steve Reed". Pennlive.com. RetrievedJune 5, 2018.
  18. Matt Miller (January 23, 2017). "Ex-Mayor Reed admits carelessness, not criminality, in pleading guilty to stealing city artifacts". Pennlive.com. RetrievedJanuary 23, 2017.

Stephen R. Reed
Stephen R Reed Article Talk Language Watch Edit For other people with the same name see Steve Reed disambiguation Stephen Russell Reed August 9 1949 January 25 2020 2 was the longest serving mayor of Harrisburg Pennsylvania Dubbed Mayor for Life he was re elected to seven four year terms serving from 1982 to 2010 Reed died on January 25 2020 in Harrisburg at the age of 70 3 After leaving office Reed faced charges on nearly 500 counts of theft fraud and corruption 4 5 He pled guilty to 20 charges and was sentenced to probation 6 7 Stephen R ReedMember of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 103rd districtIn office January 7 1975 November 19 1980Preceded byGeorge GekasSucceeded byPeter C WambachMayor of HarrisburgIn office January 5 1982 January 4 2010Preceded byPaul E Doutrich Jr Succeeded byLinda D ThompsonPersonal detailsBornStephen Russell Reed 1949 08 09 August 9 1949 Chambersburg PennsylvaniaDiedJanuary 25 2020 2020 01 25 aged 70 Harrisburg PennsylvaniaPolitical partyDemocraticResidence212 Cumberland St Harrisburg PA 17102 1 Contents 1 Biography 1 1 Political life 1 2 As Mayor 1 3 Corruption Indictment and conviction 2 See also 3 References 4 External linksBiography EditReed was born in Chambersburg Pennsylvania After moving to Harrisburg in the 1950s Reed attended Bishop McDevitt High School where he graduated in 1967 He went on to attend Dickinson College and was named a Finnegan Fellow in 1970 He did not graduate from Dickinson and later served as an emergency medical technician in Harrisburg while pursuing his early political career Political life Edit Active in the Democratic Party as a teenager Reed headed the Teenage Democrats of Pennsylvania was Vice President of the College Young Democrats of Pennsylvania and was active in many civic activities Among his early work experiences was a staff job for the Democratic Caucus in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives In the Democratic landslide victory year of 1974 when he was 25 Reed campaigned hard for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and upset four term Republican incumbent George Gekas who later became a Pennsylvania state senator and U S Congressman He would go on to serve three terms as a member of the state s House of Representatives until 1980 As Mayor Edit Re elected to the state house in 1976 and 1978 Reed was elected Dauphin County Pennsylvania Commissioner in 1979 and Mayor of Harrisburg in 1981 He won re election as mayor in 1985 1989 1993 1997 2001 and 2005 During the 2000s he was considered Pennsylvania s most popular and successful mayor 8 During Reed s tenure restaurants museums hotels several large office buildings and new residences were constructed within the city limits Reed was instrumental in the city getting its minor league baseball team the Harrisburg Senators and later led the city to purchase the team when it was sold to a buyer who intended to move it out of the region Harrisburg is also known worldwide for its use of land value taxation Harrisburg has taxed land at a rate six times that on improvements since 1975 and this policy has been credited by Reed as well as by the city s former city manager during the 1980s with helping reducing the number of vacant structures in downtown Harrisburg from about 4 200 in 1982 to less than 500 Reed is credited with conceiving and developing Harrisburg s City Island park the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the high school that accompanied it He is the founder and driving force behind the construction of the 32 million National Civil War Museum in the city 9 In 2000 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania placed Reed in charge of the failing Harrisburg School District for which he imposed a massive reform and rehabilitation project Most recently in 2006 Reed was credited and recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for reducing the city s flood risks 10 Reed s successes are balanced by setback population loss mounting debt and continued poverty remain challenges as Harrisburg s slow recovery continues Those setbacks notwithstanding in December 2006 the City Mayors organization recognized Reed s achievements by awarding him the bronze third place in its annual World Mayor competition 11 Reed continued to bear strong criticism for purchases of historical Civil War and American Old West artifacts with public funds 12 The artifact purchases were intended for use in a planned Old West Museum part of a larger plan by Reed to develop a critical mass of national and historically focused museums in Harrisburg centered on the National Civil War Museum Plans for the Old West Museum met strong public opposition and Reed placed the plans on hold commissioning a public study funded by an auction of some of the artifacts to review the feasibility of the museum Reed faced similar criticism when acquiring artifacts for the National Civil War Museum Opponents and critics are most critical about the methods Reed used to fund the purchases without public oversight Every time the independent Harrisburg Authority floats bonds for the Harrisburg school district and other government agencies it collects a fee and deposits it into an account The mayor can draw on that account for any capital expense as long as he has the signatures of two members of the authority all appointed by the mayor 12 Reed won reelection in 2005 unopposed after winning the Democratic Primary against Jason N Smith a Harrisburg entrepreneur and outspoken critic of the Old West Museum and artifact purchases As late as January 2009 he was called Mayor for life 3 In the May 2009 Democratic Primary Reed lost his re election bid to Harrisburg City Council president Linda Thompson 13 Corruption Indictment and conviction Edit On July 14 2015 Kathleen Kane the Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania announced 499 criminal charges against Reed for his activities involving the museums and the incinerator project This is one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption this office has investigated Kane said Mayor Reed used taxpayer money to further his own interests His conduct is at the root of the fiscal issues that continue to plague the city of Harrisburg today 14 Reed was charged with diverting money from Harrisburg bond funds including buying Wild West and Civil War memorabilia some of which he hoarded in a private collection at his home or sold for his own benefit 15 Noting his long tenure in office Kane said as mayoral terms passed Reed came to disregard legal restraints on expenditures 16 In response Reed said I devoted my life to the city of Harrisburg and I look forward to waging a vigorous fight against these charges There is much more to this story It ll come out eventually Just not today 16 Reed later said he had accidentally packed the items among his own when he left office 6 The court dismissed 305 of the criminal charges for being beyond the statute of limitations 17 Reed pleaded guilty to 20 of the remaining felony and misdemeanor counts of receiving stolen property 18 He was given no jail time instead sentenced to two years probation and a fine 6 7 See also Edit Pennsylvania portal Biography portal Politics portalList of mayors of HarrisburgReferences Edit AG releases statement against former Harrisburg mayor WGAL July 14 2015 Retrieved July 9 2021 Longtime Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R Reed through the years photo gallery Pennlive com January 25 2020 Retrieved January 25 2020 a b PA Report 100 PDF Pennsylvania Report Capital Growth Inc January 23 2009 Archived from the original PDF on May 30 2019 Charles Thompson July 14 2015 Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen R Reed charged with bribery theft and dozens more criminal charges Pennlive com Retrieved August 12 2015 Howard Sheppard July 14 2015 Attorney General Kane says Reed charges one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption Fox43 com Retrieved August 12 2015 a b c Matt Miller January 27 2017 Ex Harrisburg Mayor Reed gets no jail time for stealing city artifacts Pennlive com Retrieved June 5 2018 a b Matt Miller January 27 2017 City disappointed former Mayor Reed will serve no jail time Eric Papenfuse Pennlive com Retrieved June 5 2018 The PA Report Power 75 List PDF Pennsylvania Report Capital Growth Inc January 31 2003 Archived from the original PDF on September 20 2006 Clines Francis X August 4 2002 Civil War Relics Draw Visitors and Con Artists New York Times Retrieved October 4 2010 Harrisburg Mayor Recognized For Reducing City s Flood Risks Federal Emergency Management Agency 2006 Archived from the original on September 26 2007 Retrieved January 14 2007 vom Hove Tann 2006 John So Lord Mayor of Melbourne wins the 2006 World Mayor Award worldmayor com Retrieved December 31 2006 a b Schwartz Jerry 2004 City slicker aims for the Old West AP Washington Times Retrieved May 12 2007 Miller Dan May 20 2009 Thompson trounces Reed for Democratic nomination for Harrisburg mayor The Patriot News Retrieved May 20 2009 Lawrance Binda July 14 2015 Kane Releases Statement Details Charges Against Reed theBurg theBurg Retrieved August 12 2015 Andrew Robinson July 16 2015 Items seized from Gettysburg business linked to charges against former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed Fox43 com Retrieved August 12 2015 a b Charles Thompson July 14 2015 Harrisburg corruption charges portray former mayor Stephen Reed as unhinged from normal checks and balances Pennlive com Retrieved August 12 2015 Matt Miller May 16 2016 Judge throws out 305 criminal charges against former Harrisburg PAmayor Steve Reed Pennlive com Retrieved June 5 2018 Matt Miller January 23 2017 Ex Mayor Reed admits carelessness not criminality in pleading guilty to stealing city artifacts Pennlive com Retrieved January 23 2017 External links EditBiography of Mayor Stephen R Reed CityMayors com profile Stephen Reed nominated for the 2006 World Mayor Award Retrieved from https en wikipedia org w index php title Stephen R Reed amp oldid 1032800306, 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