LAFLIN — Seven candidates will vie for three seats on the Laflin Borough Council in Tuesday’s general election. And a recent federal lawsuit against a former police chief has made the elections more heated.
Former borough police Chief Michael Flanagan filed a suit against the borough in 2013. It was dismissed in January after both parties reached a settlement. Flanagan is now running for council as a Democrat, along with Sandra Jean Falcone and Lisa Natt.
Incumbent Republican Thomas L. Parry, and Republicans Anthony D’Eliseo Sr. and Jamie Andrews will also look for seats.
Current council chairman, Republican Paul Benderavich, will be running as a write-in candidate.
According to a press release obtained by the Times Leader, four residents will team up to fill the majority on council: Parry, D’Eliseo, Benderavich and current council member Carl Yestremski, who is not up for reelection With three seats open, incumbents Yestremski and Glen Gubitose are the only two current council members guaranteed to return next year.
The team of Republicans and Democrats are opposing Flanagan and his team.
“We cannot have runaway spending and large tax increases as the future of our town,” Yestremski said in the press release.
The candidates believe this is the first time in the history of Laflin Borough that Republicans and Democrats have united on one team.
Natt, who is a local IT support manager, has an issue with how certain things are handled in the borough, specifically the way council decided to close the police department.
At a meeting in December of 2014, council voted to disband the police department immediately and hire a consultant to liquidate the department’s needs. The vote ended 4-1, with Gubitose the lone opposing vote. Council’s reason for the disbandment was because of a crumbling infrastructure.
“I felt they didn’t give the public enough notice for it,” she said. “It was handled poorly. I understand the logic behind it and their concerns, but I think it didn’t have to be all or nothing at this point.”
Natt said there were other ways that should have been handled.
“We need to continue to address our infrastructure problems,” Natt said. “I love living here. I think Laflin is a great place to live and I want to make sure it stays that way.”
In May’s primary election, Flanagan received the most votes with 159. Falcone and Natt were just behind with 156 votes. Current councilman Patrick Gilhooley failed to make it back on the ballot in May.
The remaining candidates could not be reached for comment.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick.