WILKES-BARRE, PA – The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board grappled with an angry standing-room-only crowd as they dealt with the fallout from hiring the mayor’s brother over a more qualified candidate at a tense meeting Monday.
Ten days earlier, the board voted 5-4 to hire Brian Leighton, brother of Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton, as a truant officer. After that meeting, school board directors Christine Katsock and James Susek, who voted against the hiring, said Leighton was not the candidate recommended by the district interview committee.
Four residents, including an unsuccessful candidate for the job, stood before the board Monday and berated it for the hiring. Robert Kadluboski, a Wilkes-Barre tow-truck driver and frequent critic of the city government and the school board, called the hiring “a slap in the face of the taxpayer.”
Board President John Quinn, Vice President Louis Elmy, Dino Galella, Phil Latinski and Maryanne Toole voted to hire Leighton at a special meeting Aug. 2. Lynn Evans and Rev. Shawn Walker joined Katsock and Susek in the failed opposition effort.