SCRANTON — Scranton’s financial woes have been making national headlines as city council and the mayor try to close a $16 million budget gap.
On Sunday, an ad blasting Mayor Chris Doherty appeared in the Scranton Times.
Paid for by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the ad depicts Doherty in a dunce hat and clown nose and claims, “Mayor Doherty is making Scranton the laughing stock of America.”
Some people who live in Scranton said city officials need to stop blaming each other and work together to solve Scranton’s financial problems.
The ad is the latest in the ongoing battle involving the state of Scranton’s finances and it, and a $16 million budget shortfall, have people talking.
“I think it`s terrible,” said Walter Gardner of Scranton. “Mismanagement of money, that`s my theory and I don’t know, but now he (Doherty) wants to raise our taxes 78 percent in three years? What’s a senior citizen like me going to do about what this raise is?”
“I think it`s kind of a spite thing. One doesn`t like this one, doesn`t like that one. Well you have to put that aside and start getting down to business as to what this city is about. Never mind this political stuff,” said Nancy Prall of Scranton.
The ad was paid for by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), which represents 300,000 firefighters and paramedics, including union members in Scranton.
The ad claims Doherty broke the law when paychecks were issued last week, paying firefighters and other city workers only minimum wage.
Doherty said if the city had the money, he would pay them.
Louis Martini drove a tanker for the Scranton Fire Department for nearly 30 years and is an IAFF supporter.
“It`s disgusting. It is,” he said, of the financial situation.
“The city shouldn`t have been in that position. It was just going on too, too long and those men are risking their lives when they go out to these fires. Some of them are really horrendous. So I don`t know. I don`t know where we go from here to be perfectly honest. It`s hard going uphill,” said Angeline Martini of Scranton.
Randi Romano said she supports the ad, but said the city’s financial problems are nothing new.
“It`s always been a problem with any kind of mayor we`ve had. It`s just gotten worse. I don`t think he (Doherty) was the problem, it started a long time ago,” said Randi Romano of Scranton.
While the city has received some financial aid, taxpayers said city council and the mayor need to do more to come up with a solution.
“We`re putting these people in office and they`re not doing their jobs. Now they have to wise up and do something,” added Prall.
The president of Scranton’s firefighters’ union did not want to comment on the ad taken out by the IAFF.
Mayor Chris Doherty said the ad is freedom of speech, and that the union can say whatever it wants.
As for solving the city’s financial issues, Doherty said meetings and negotiations are ongoing and progress is being made.