Mayor of Lackawanna Appoints Father-in-Law as City Attorney
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The new mayor of Lackawanna, New York has made a decision to keep the legal work for the city in the family. The mayor, Geoffrey M. Szymanski, appointed his father-in-law as the city attorney for Lackawanna. The city attorney is one of the most critical posts in City Hall and it is now held by Norman A. LeBlanc Jr.

Lackawanna politics have a tradition of nepotism and this appointment keeps the tradition in line. There are not many people in Lackawanna who disagree with this appointment though because LeBlanc has held the position in the past and many believe he is qualified for the job.


Mayor Szymanski said that he trusts LeBlanc more than any other candidate for the position when it comes to overseeing the legal affairs of the city. He also did not offer any apologies for appointing his father-in-law.

“He doesn’t want to let me down, and I don’t want to fire him, but I will if I have to,” the mayor said.

Arcangelo J. Petricca, the city’s longtime attorney, is who LeBlanc is taking over for with the appointment. Petricca served  as the city’s assistant attorney or the city attorney for two mayors. Those two mayors were Edward J. Kuwik and Thomas E. Radich. Petricca also served as the special counsel to the city for Mayor Kathleen M. Staniszewski.

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“I left 20 years ago and thought I’d never look back,” LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc maintains a law practice while also concentrating on his role as the pastor of the First Congregational Church of Java Village.

“When [Szymanski] asked me over a year ago, I said, ‘I don’t want you asking me because I’m your father-in-law.’ And he said, ‘I’m not,’ ” said LeBlanc, who is an ordained minister in the Congregational Church.

LeBlanc is known throughout Lackawanna as a hands-on attorney for the city, obtaining this characterization while working under previous administrations. LeBlanc said he plans on having the same approach in this stint too.

“I really do love this city and I’d like to see it come back,” said LeBlanc.

Mayor Szymanski is looking to spend less money for outside counsel, saving the city money, by having more legal work done in-house. The mayor said that outside counsel bills cost the city close to $250,000 in 2010.

Dana J. Britton, a retired lieutenant of the Lackawanna Police Department, has been appointed as the director of public safety for the city, according to the mayor. Britton succeeds Richard L. Startek in the position.

The mayor made a couple of other city administration appointments as well, pledging to the city’s residents that his department heads would get the job done or he would hire someone else for the positions.

“If they can’t be productive, they’re going to be gone,” he said. “I have four years to get this right, and I have a whole city depending on me to get it right.”


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