The bad news for Wilkes-Barre City Mayor Tom Leighton is that the state Ethics Commission is investigating his routine practice of hiring his kids for summer jobs. The good news for him is there are no formidable candidates running against him for re-election so none of this will likely matter.
Toward the bottom of The Times Leader’s Friday article, Leighton said he has never hidden the fact that he hired his children and other relatives. Yeah, he probably told his wife.
The fact of the matter is that only when he got caught this summer did his son, daughter and nephew resign. Sorry, kids, there’s always next year.
Despite all the pay-to-play/it’s who you know revelations that became public recently, Leighton really insults our intelligence just as the Wilkes-Barre Area School District did when it said politics had nothing to do with the mayor’s son getting a teaching position there. Just as Wyoming Valley West Superintendent Chuck Suppon did when he told the TL that his son was hired solely on merit and that he’s gotten tons of calls telling him how great a job sonny is doing.
At least someone out there refused to sit back and let Leighton get away with perpetuating what has always been a demoralizing experience for anyone applying for a teaching or any kind of job in Luzerne County. It IS who you know, so don’t try to convince us otherwise without some solid proof.
Leighton said he’s aware the Ethics Commission is delving into his kids getting summer positions with the city but that he has not received a letter from the Ethics Commission.
“I don’t think this will adversely affect my candidacy,” he said confidently, and he’s probably right. “I think voters will look at my record and look at how the city has improved in the last seven-plus years since I’ve been mayor.”
Well, that’s kind of debatable. Just ask any resident who lives outside of the downtown area. Or anyone forced to dodge potholes on city streets. Or anyone disenchanted with some of the seemingly shady deals that have surfaced, including the planned sale of the former Old River Road Bakery property to the mayor’s pal, city tower Leo Glodzik.
Don’t worry, Mayor Leighton, you more than likely will get your third term. But don’t kid yourself that city residents believe that Wilkes-Barre is a politics-free zone and that the city is a great place to live and work. It may be for some, but it’s not for all.
- Betty Roccograndi