Lackawanna’s embattled public works commissioner has submitted a letter of resignation to Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski, but the mayor said on Monday that he hasn’t accepted the resignation.
Thomas N. Love, working since August on a salary of $10,000 per year after the City Council reduced his pay, wrote a letter last week telling Szymanski his resignation was effective on Friday.
“He doesn’t feel like he is being treated fairly by the Council,” said Szymanski.
Love’s status as head of the Public Works Department has been a source of contention between the mayor and the Council for months.
The Council, which controls city spending, voted in May over Szymanski’s objections to slash Love’s salary from $30,000 per year to $10,000. The move was widely viewed as an effort by the Council to force out Love after 38 years as a city employee.
Several Council members expressed irritation at Love’s absences at meetings and the lack of a succession plan for the Public Works Department.
Council President Henry R. Pirowski Jr. said on Monday that Love earlier in the year expressed his desire to retire.
The Council had been seeking a definitive date so the city can prepare for his departure, he said.
“If Mr. Love turned in his resignation, it’s not something the Council wanted, and it’s not something the Council demanded,” Pirowski said.
Pirowski was made aware of the resignation late Monday afternoon in a text message from the mayor, he said, and now the Council is stuck not knowing who will succeed Love heading into the winter snowplowing season.
Love, 59, could not be reached to comment.
Szymanski said he was still exploring a legal challenge of the Council’s pay cut.
“They’re setting an unreasonable rate for someone working full time,” said Szymanski.
Prior to the pay cut, Love was receiving $30,000 per year – the maximum allowable under state pension laws.
He also made $84,389 in state pension in 2012 from his work as public works employee, his term in the mid-1990s as 3rd Ward councilman, and his many years as a corrections officer with the state Department of Corrections.
Pirowski said the mayor has no grounds for a legal challenge of the Council’s final budget.