Erie County Council officially has a new leader.
On Thursday afternoon, council members unanimously chose longtime councilman Joe Giles to serve as chairman.
It's the sixth time that Giles will serve as chairman, since being elected in 1982.
"This is a significant opportunity," said Giles. "We know we're faced with some very difficult challenging things ahead for the county."
From severely reduced funding for Erie County, to dealing with operations at the Erie County Prison, Giles says council members have a number of challenges on the road ahead.
But his number one concern, is the future of Pleasant Ridge Manor.
"I think that's going to be a big challenge, because you have almost as many opinions as you have people on council," said Giles. "So pulling that together, developing a consensus, and adopting a plan, I think will be the biggest challenge."
Meanwhile, Erie County Councilman Whitey Cleaver, will serve alongside Giles as vice chairman.
"The top priority I think without a doubt, is to try and update and upgrade the Home Rule Charter," said Cleaver. "The other thing is to address Pleasant Ridge Manor and what direction we're going to go."
During the meeting, council members welcomed their newest member--Edward DiMattio. He took over the seat vacated by Ebert Beeman, who is serving a year in prison for Social Security fraud.
"I'm really quite honored that the other members of council have chosen me," said DiMattio. "I take it very seriously. I think it's important at this time that we put behind us what has taken place, and to move on, not just for people of Erie County, but for the people of the 6th District, and just give them a proper representation within the county."
With a newly reorganized group, Erie County Council is ready to take on 2013, full steam ahead.