First Posted: 1/13/2013
First term Democratic Pittston Councilman Joe Chernouskas will not seek a second term, and former councilman Ken Bangs plans to run for the seat.
Mayor Jason Klush and Councilman Mike Lombardo plan to run with Bangs and Controller Chris Latona as a team.
This is the final election the controller will be on the ballot. The position was eliminated after from the Home Rule measure that passed last year.
Chernouskas is not seeking another term to concentrate on his family, including his 13-year-old son and a recent promotion at work.
Ken Bangs served two, non-consecutive terms on council, dating back to 2000. A New Jersey native, he’s lived in Pittston for the past 33 years. He attended trade school in New Jersey and has two grown children.
He is past president of the Hughestown Lions Club and the Leader Dog for the blind program. He has served as shop steward for Local 229 Union at Topps, Inc. He is currently employed by the Pittston Area School District in the maintenance department
All these projects that are going on now, we started them, Bangs said. The streetscape. The Riverfront Park. The new Little League field at Sullivan Park. The Condo project.
He says he wants to focus on cleaning up the neighborhoods.
I think great things are happening in the city, he said. That’s why I want to get back into it. I’d like to get into the residential areas, clean them up. Spruce up the parks. Continue the progress for the betterment of the city.
He lost his first council seat to Danny Argo by two votes. He decided not to run the next time.
Lombardo is completing his first full term on council. He was appointed to council just after he won the 2009 primary. The mayor, Joseph Keating, was defeated by Klush, and councilwoman Donna Connors McFadden filled out the rest of Keating’s term. Lombaro took Connors McFadden’s place on council.
Lombardo, who lives in the Oregon section of the city, attended Seton Catholic High School, King’s College and graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 2003.
He is an EMT and the vice president of the Greater Pittston Ambulance Association. He is also a volunteer firefighter for Pittston and was the past president of the YMCA board.
He notes accomplishments as new construction downtown, the police K-9 program, the passage of Home Rule, aggressive code enforcement and hiring a professional manager.
To sum it up, there’s a different attitude about Pittston anymore, Lombardo said. In years past, when you said you were from Pittston, people said, ‘Oh jeez, you’re from Pittston, with run down buildings and people moving out of town.’
Now there’s a different attitude when you talk about Pittston, Lombardo said. There’s excitement. People want to be here. People want to come here.
A life-long resident of Pittston, Klush grew up on Cornelia Street and is a 1995 graduate of Pittston Area. Klush has helped restore the Millennium Clock, and volunteered on construction projects at the Pittston Pool, Jefferson Park, Pittston Veterans Park and Pittston Little League.
He received a football scholarship to East Stroudsburg University and graduated in 2000 with a degree in sociology and criminal justice. He is now construction manager at Hadley Construction.
Klush said he has had a successful first-term as mayor and now looks to the future and stabilizing the neighborhoods.
We did what we said we were going to do, he said. We’re now looking to the neighborhoods to clean them up.
He also plans to continue to improve public safety and stop the population erosion.
Our record speaks for itself, he said. Just look around. It’s a different Pittston.
The seats of Councilmen Joe McLean and Argo are not the ballot.
The first day to circulate and file nomination petitions for the May 17 primary is Feb. 19.