Scranton Sewer Authority Member Resigns After Being Appointed To Scranton School Board

December 28, 2018
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Scranton Sewer Authority Member Resigns After Being Appointed To Scranton School Board

SCRANTON — After becoming Scranton School Board’s newest member, Gopal Patel resigned from the Scranton Sewer Authority. Sworn in as a school director on Dec. 20, Patel resigned from the sewer authority on Dec. 21 via email to SSA solicitor Jason Shrive, who informed the authority at its regular monthly meeting Thursday. “I didn’t feel I could serve two public authorities at the same time,” Patel said in a phone interview after the sewer authority meeting he did not attend. Patel got on the school board through a surprise vote Dec. 19, when a divided board appointed him to fill a vacancy caused by Paige Gebhardt Cognetti’s resignation the prior week. On Dec. 20, Patel was sworn in as a school director by Lackawanna County Judge Tom Munley in his office. Some school board members said they only learned this past Wednesday via email and text messages that Patel had taken the oath of office for school board. Another sewer authority member, Larry Boccadori, also resigned late last month. “I feel my contribution has met its limit and that it would be beneficial to the board if I were to step down,” Boccadori said in a Nov. 27 resignation letter to Shrive. Patel and Boccadori each held a Scranton seat on the five-member sewer authority. It will inform Mayor Bill Courtright of the resignations, so he can fill the vacancies with new appointments. Efforts to contact Courtright were unsuccessful. The sewer authority’s remaining members include Chairman Michael Parker and Kevin Whelan, both Scranton members, and Michael Dempsey, the sole Dunmore member. In another matter, the authority voted 3-0 — with Parker, Whelan and Dempsey all in favor — to approve the authority paying $36,097 in late unemployment compensation payments and interest to the state Department of Labor and Industry. In September, that state agency filed a lien in Lackawanna County Court against the sewer authority for $33,291 in unpaid unemployment compensation in 2017-18. The lien involved unemployment compensation for some former SSA employees transferred to Pennsylvania American Water in its purchase of the sewer system at the end of 2016, and who had gone out on leave or left employment after the sewer sale closed, Shrive said. The SSA was supposed to continue contributing unemployment compensation payments for an applicable “look back” period of about 18 months, he said. “That information never got to our office specifically, so they filed a lien. We have to pay the lien,” Shrive said. Authority accountants and the water company reviewed the matter and determined the SSA is responsible to satisfy the lien, he said. CHRIS KELLY, staff writer, contributed to this report. Contact the writer: jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185; @jlockwoodTT on Twitter

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