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Financial Mess Making National Headlines

SCRANTON — With Scranton’s financial crisis all over the network news and in national newspapers, you’d think all the bad publicity would tarnish the image of the electric city, but maybe not, according to some observers who have worked in city government.

This week the streets of Scranton have been filed with satellite trucks and news cars from TV stations from Philadelphia and national stations in New York City. They’re in Scranton because of the national interest in the city’s financial plight. On Wednesday we talked to city residents, many who said the publicity may not be all bad.

Alex Hazzouri served 12 years on Scranton’s city council. Now, he’s watching the city’s financial crisis unfold from the outside.

“I would rather not have it on, in terms of these circumstances, but I think what people will see from Scranton is, they will see the development downtown, they will see that physically it is a beautiful Mid Atlantic city,” said Hazzouri.

Hazzouri and other city residents said the national attention may not be all bad. They said no matter the topic, Scranton’s name is being spread.

“It draws attention to Scranton, makes people more apt to spend money here, boost the economy, also may draw help from other states and stuff,” said Fred Silvi of Scranton.

Scranton’s budget shortfall that two weeks ago lead Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty to slash employee salaries to minimum wage has been a topic on many of the national news networks and newspapers.

City administration is in the middle of two court battles, one with the city’s unions, the other with city council.

“Were a spot on the map now, it’s everyone staring at us, it’s putting more pressure on handling a situation that I think a lot of members of the community and the city feel like they could have handled on their own,” said Nicole Dobosh of Scranton.

The city’s financial problems do need to be handled soon before Scranton runs out of money. Some city residents hope the media attention will motivate city leaders.

“I think it’s a great thing, it will expose the corruption and hopefully help stop the corruption within the city of Scranton and Lackawanna County,” said Raymond Ward of Scranton.

“I see them all the time, but seeing isn’t doing, they aren’t going to help nobody. They’ll just talk about it and then go put a hurricane on TV,” said David Smith of Scranton.

On Wednesday we learned there’s been another roadblock keeping the city from getting the money it needs to close the budget gap. The mayor’s recovery plan, which city council still has not voted on, doesn’t account for about $5 million. City leaders said the mayor’s recovery plan will be changed by next week.


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