SCRANTON -- Next Tuesday, we'll be declaring all the winners and losers from the 2013 primary elections.
One of the biggest races in our area this year is the battle for mayor of Scranton.
Tuesday night the four Democrats in the campaign squared off in a debate.
“The mayor of the city of Scranton is that it will be a really difficult job. Why do you want this job?” asked the moderator with the League of Women Voters of Lackawanna County.
Sitting on the panel at the DeNaples Center at the University of Scranton were the four people hoping to win the Democratic nomination for Scranton mayor in the primary elections next week.
“What skills and abilities can you bring into the job that will make you a successful mayor?” asked the moderator.
The Democratic candidates include Bill Courtright, a former city council member and current tax collector for Scranton, Liz Randol, who ran for Lackawanna County Commissioner in 2011, Joe Cardamone, a former city official, and Lee Morgan, a regular speaker at Scranton`s city council meetings.
With the city in distressed status for more than 20 years, the big question is how will these candidates fix Scranton's financial mess?
“The single first thing that we need to do is have a financial analysis of the city so that we see where we are because I don`t believe we truly know where we are financially,” said Courtright.
“Talk to the unions. 75 to 85 percent of our budget is labor. I don`t want to balance the budget on the backs of the unions but we need to come together,” said Cardamone.
“I`m looking at five things, the first is zero-based budgeting, the second is to merge some of our silo databases of information so that in the third instance we can try to reclaim some of the money that`s left on the table,” said Randol.
“To work very hard to turn this city around but it`s not going to something that`s going to follow a straight line, it`s going to zig and zag, it might do 180 degree circles,” said Morgan.
The candidates are hoping to replace outgoing Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty who rarely attended city council meetings in his four terms.
That`s something at least one candidate wants to change.
“I intend to attend every council meeting like I do now because I think the mayor has to be a leader,” said Morgan.
The winner of the Democratic primary election will face off against the winner of the Republican ticket in November.
The Republican candidates running for Scranton mayor in the primaries are Garett Lewis and Marcel Lisi.