WILKES-BARRE — City council’s silence spoke loudly Thursday about its reluctance to return former police chief Marcella Lendacky to a decision-making position, even in a volunteer capacity.
Lendacky was one of three people nominated to fill a spot on the newly created Parking Ticket Appeals Board — and the only one left out. A motion by councilman Mike Merritt to vote on her appointment died for lack of second.
Council supported the nominations of Sam Troy and Linda Joseph for the unpaid, two-year posts that will hear appeals on the validity of tickets issued by city parking enforcement personnel.
Troy and Joseph attended the meeting. Lendacky did not, and did not respond to a phone message and a email from the Times Leader on Thursday.
‘We don’t want her’
In late 2017 council called for an independent review of the department whose rank and file members frequently clashed with Lendacky over the day-to-day management. The review by the Police Chiefs Association of Pennsylvania concluded she lacked the professional qualifications for the senior-level position and led to her retirement in June after a little more than two years after Mayor Tony George appointed her top cop.
Resident Bob Kadluboski, a frequent speaker at the meetings, recalled the review when he urged the five council members to keep her off the board.
“My thing is this administration has finally lost their minds. And I am going to ask the council not to put her in this position,” Kadluboski said.
Kadluboski questioned whether she could be fair and called her a “failure” as chief.
“I’m just going to ask you to please if you ever listened to me once, no, no, no, no no! We don’t want her on there,” Kadluboski said.
Joseph cites objectivity
Joseph responded to criticism raised by councilwoman Beth Gilbert that she could not be objective because she is close to the administration.
“I am neither a family member or close friend of Mayor George. Contrary to popular belief all people of Lebanese and Syrian descent are not related to each other,” Joseph said.
“Questioning my motivation? It is an insult to insinuate that I would be biased in my decisions on this board in whether a parking ticket is valid or not, a parking ticket,” Joseph added.
“My thoughts had nothing to do with your descent,” Gilbert replied.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story contained an incorrect date for the when city council approved the independent review. Council approved it in late 2017.
Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLJerryLynott.