American Sociological Association

Sociology in Action: Christian Vaccaro

Christian Vaccaro, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, worked as an administrator for the small borough of Leechburg, PA. ASA asked Dr. Vaccaro about that work and here is what he had to say:

What is the Leechburg Borough Council? The Council consists of seven elected members. It is the administrative body of the municipal government.

Can you describe your role with the Leechburg Borough Council? I was elected council member in 2013 by the citizens of Leechburg. I have facilitated the administration of a small-town government. Leechburg is a town of approximately 1,000 households and 2,050 residents (1,600 over 18) located in southwestern Pennsylvania. The population of the town is 97 percent white and working class. The borough has an annual budget of $1.1 million and seven full-time employees including a police force, street department, and clerks. I've participated in council meetings and voted on nearly 600 decisions that had direct impact on the borough and its residents.

What sociological knowledge and/or skills did you use for this project? I used public sociology in my approach to governance on the borough council. I used professional, policy, and critical sociological knowledge to engage the public - including my fellow borough council members and borough residents - with problem-solving dialogues on the issues that come before the council.

Duration? Four years.