Police Union Rescinds Endorsement Of W-B Mayor George
WILKES-BARRE — The union representing hundreds of Luzerne County police officers announced Monday it is rescinding it’s 2015 endorsement of Mayor Tony George and urged city voters to choose a different candidate to “clean up his mess.”
Leadership of Fraternal Order of Police, Wyoming Valley Lodge 36, recently voted to pull back its endorsement of George, a former city police chief who ran on a “Law and Order” platform, the union said.
The “Law and Order” pledge “ended up being a false promise to those who live, work and visit the City of Wilkes-Barre as well as the working men and women of the Wilkes-Barre Police Department,” the union wrote in letter obtained by The Citizens’ Voice.
Read the union’s letter on their decision.
The FOP accuses George of “extraordinary” union busting for firing one city police union leader Officer Dan Duffy, who ended up getting his job back, and suspending city police union president Phil Myers.
FOP officials also claim George appointed “two unqualified people” to lead the department, presumably a reference to former police Chief Marcella Lendacky, who retired after a negative report was released about her leadership, and former Commander Ron Foy, who returned to his detective jobs.
“Tony George had four years to make a difference, but instead he blamed everyone from years past and took no responsibility,” the FOP letter says. “Again, FOP Lodge 36 has rescinded Tony George’s past endorsement. Please choose wisely in this election. ‘Tony’ does not deserve another four years. Let someone new come in and clean up his mess.”
The FOP did not make an endorsement because at the time members voted there were three candidates — George, former Councilman George Brown and Brian Ferry — and its bylaws prohibit the group from endorsing in primaries when there is more than two candidates, FOP officials said. Ferry has since withdrew his candidacy.
The mayor seemed unphased by the FOP’s announcement. He said he did not get around to asking for the FOP’s endorsement, but was glad to get a recent endorsement from the Wilkes-Barre Democratic Committee, the one he coveted the most.
“I’ve been busy. I’ve been going door to door. That’s what I did last time,” George said.
George said crime is down and “friction” within the department under Lendacky is gone following his appointment of Joe Coffay as chief.
“It’s a paramilitary organization and we treat it as one,” George said. “We are making progress. I always said our police department was doing a good job. They have been provided with the tools needed to fight crime.”
Brown was quick to respond to the FOP announcement about George.
“The mayor continues to campaign on ‘Law and Order.’ Now his peers in the police community have given him a no confidence vote,” Brown said. “The city needs to move on from this administration.”
In a four-way Democratic primary in 2015, George defeated Brown and two other candidates in the Democratic primary. During that campaign, George tried to paint Brown’s candidacy as the potential fourth term of outgoing Mayor Tom Leighton and said voters deserved change.
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