Domenick employed Lackawanna County worker, trusted buddy for pool set up challenge | Information
SCRANTON – Lackawanna County Commissioner Debi Domenick hired a county maintenance worker to help install a pool in their Dunmore home – work he did as a private contractor outside of county time.
Domenick defended her hiring of Dunmore-based Tom King Construction LLC, owned by second-shift maintenance worker Tom King whom she describes as a trusted, longtime friend, at the commissioners meeting on Wednesday in response to a public comment submitted for pool installation. The newspaper questioned Domenick last week about her attitude towards King after Minority Commissioner Chris Chermak raised ethical concerns about his involvement.
“A commissioner has authority over the county workers, so it is not unfair for me or anyone else to ask them to work for me,” Chermak said last week.
At the meeting, Domenick said that her attitude towards King does not violate any county or state ethical code and that she was offended by the proposal. Chermak did not discuss the issue during the meeting but said afterwards that his concerns remained.
King, who Domenick said has been known for more than 30 years, works as a general contractor and takes care of the logistics of the pool installation at their Quincy Avenue home. She said she wanted to hire someone she trust to manage the logistics and found that she also needed to hire an excavator, electrician, plumber, and other professionals for her parts of the ongoing project. King’s company is listed on the permit Domenick obtained for the pool installation.
She also flatly denied any wrongdoing or inappropriateness when asked about Chermak’s concerns last week.
“I know I didn’t do anything wrong,” she said then. “Everything was on the rise. He (King) did nothing during his tenure. I would never let that happen, and I pay everyone what I have to pay. Nobody gives me a break if the people are.” Think.”
Domenick said Wednesday that she was told the pool controversy was an “optics problem” and argued “if you are not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have to worry about the optics”.
After an internal review with other officials including Chief of Staff Brian Jeffers and Human Resources Director Justin MacGregor, County Solicitor Frank Ruggiero agreed that Domenick’s use of King’s company was not a violation of ethics. The county’s policy does not prohibit county employees from working outside of working hours, and no employee has worked for Domenick in a private capacity during their working hours, he said.
“And see how Commissioner Domenick said … optics is what it is and in hindsight it made a decision based on a factor of trust and again we can all agree or not whether that is right or wrong was, but from but from a legal point of view and an ethical point of view, there doesn’t seem to be any violation, “said Ruggiero.
In his submitted public comment, Joseph asked Sabia if Domenick could produce a bill “to prove to Lackawanna County citizens that the work in their home is not unethical.”
Domenick presented an invoice for $ 1,316 from King’s company, the only one she had received so far.
“Having an ethical problem or allegation of ethical misconduct as an elected official and attorney can damage my reputation and my ability to make a living to support my child, and I take that very seriously,” she said.