WILLIAMSPORT — The City of Williamsport’s public safety director happens to be the mayor and the vehicle he’s driving is starting to draw attention.
We passed the mayor on the interstate near Muncy Wednesday and were surprised to see he was driving an old police cruiser.
Thursday, Mayor Gabe Campana first told us he was going to an industrial park, then changed his story and said he was driving around neighborhoods in Muncy.
So we asked the mayor exactly why he needs a city vehicle, that looks a lot like a cop car, to get around.
The car with stripped decals and a number on the front bumper was parked in the Williamsport mayor’s spot at City Hall.
It used to be driven by police in the city but for the last month or so, the mayor has been driving the vehicle, or something similar.
“All my other department heads have vehicles, I’m the mayor of the city, if department heads have vehicles, why shouldn’t the mayor?” wondered Mayor Gabe Campana.
Campana said he hopes the car will deter crime. In fact, it was parked outside his home before he left for work. We spoke with Campana nearly two years ago about a special car he was driving that ran on natural gas which he owned. Since then, Campana has sold the car saying he couldn’t afford it.
“I sold that car, bought a fun car, always wanted a car like that, spoke to the Misses and she said no, so I got rid of that,” said Campana.
Campana drives the former police car, which is city owned, while he’s on city business, he said. As recently as Wednesday, Campana said he drove the car to Muncy on official business as the city’s public safety director.
“I was heading to Muncy to drive around the neighborhoods, and I’ve done that for the last few nights.”
By Thursday afternoon, another vehicle was ready for the mayor to use complete with decals that read “Williamsport Public Safety.”
Some city residents are a bit skeptical the mayor is right to use the car as he sees fit.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for our tax paying money,” said Samantha Crosley.
“It must be nice, somebody can drive around in a vehicle for nothing. I just had to pay for registration and car insurance for mine, I don’t think it’s right,” said Kathy Confer.
Mayor Campana said his city vehicle comes at no extra cost to taxpayers.
Members of city council said the mayor should have a vehicle to use for government business but have not approved the use of a vehicle by the mayor.