WILKES-BARRE – Two former city police chiefs are now heading City Council.
Bill Barrett was elected chairman Monday night and Tony George was named vice chairman. Both 61, they are retired from the city police force. They agree council has to be more involved with finances to avoid another year like 2012 that culminated in property taxes being raised 26 percent for 2013.
We have to be more fiscally responsible, Barrett said after the brief meeting. We learned a lot this year.
George agreed, adding, We have to scrutinize all expenditures this year.
Both men abstained from voting for themselves, and they were elected on 4-0 votes.
George said he has been following Barrett his entire career, having followed him to the rank of sergeant, lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and chief.
This is a time for reflection, Barrett said.
He thanked his fellow council members, the administration for its cooperation and transparency and residents for offering input at meetings.
We don't always agree, he said, but we try to do our best.
Bob Kadluboski, owner of City Wide Towing, and Frank Sorick, president of the Wilkes-Barre City Taxpayers Association, congratulated Barrett and George and asked for fair treatment at meetings.
I hope we do better, Kadluboski said. Sometimes I do talk loud, but I'm frustrated. We have valid concerns and we want to be heard.
Council meets at 6 p.m. today in work session and again Thursday at 6 p.m. in regular session when public comment is allowed. Meetings are held in council chambers, 4th floor, City Hall.