Wilkes-Barre Police Review Finished, Police Chief Resigns

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Wilkes-Barre's police chief is calling it quits. Her departure comes after a long-awaited state report was finally received at City Hall.

Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Marcella Lendacky notified the mayor Wednesday that she will retire effective June 3.

It will mark the end of her short and controversial tenure at the helm of the Wilkes-Barre's police force.

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George received the chief's retirement letter Wednesday afternoon, but the mayor did not connect the chief's letter with what appears to be a critical review of the chief and her second in command.

When Mayor George appointed Lendacky to chief in January 2016, officers in the police union claimed he promoted someone who wasn't ready to lead. Her tenure lasted less than three years.

"I'm happy that she has enough respect that she decided to leave peacefully and that it didn't come to the point of termination or anything like that," said city council member Beth Gilbert.

Gilbert called for Lendacky's resignation just hours before Lendacky announced her intention to retire.

Gilbert also wants Commander Ron Foy, Wilkes-Barre's second in command, to step down, saying the police department needs someone else in charge.

"It's clear the department needs completely new leadership to take over and move Wilkes-Barre in a positive direction," Gilbert said.

"Mainly, this is about department leadership, not the department itself as far as the rank-and-file members, detectives, or anything like that," said council member Mike Belusko.

Belusko says it is now up to Mayor George to find a new police chief.

The review was done by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association in Harrisburg.

It came at a time when the head of the police union was suspended, and the vice president fired -- punishment by the chief the union called retaliatory. The union is suing the city.

Former city council member George Brown says the review that cost the city $26,000 should be made public immediately.

"So that we could look at it, decipher what is in that report for ourselves, and then move on. Let's go through the healing process, fix the things that are wrong, and then let's start to heal," Brown said.

According to Wilkes-Barre's city manager, the city's lawyer will review the report on the police department to see if any personal information should be taken out before it is released to the public.

No timetable has been set to appoint a new chief.

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