Allentown City Council calls for mayor to resign

     Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. (Image via Seven Points Consulting/Wikipedia Creative Commons)

    Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. (Image via Seven Points Consulting/Wikipedia Creative Commons)

    On Wednesday night, the City Council voted 7-0 in favor of a resolution that calls for Mayor Ed Pawlowski to resign.

    1/21/16: This post has been updated with the outcome of the council’s vote. 

    Federal prosecutors are investigating alleged pay-to-play schemes in Allentown and Reading, saying city officials traded favors for campaign contributions.

    On Wednesday night, the City Council voted 7-0 in favor of a no confidence vote, a resolution that calls for Mayor Ed Pawlowski to resign.

    The resolution says the federal investigation has “brought the city into disrepute.”

    City Council Vice President Daryl Hendricks says the council wanted to make a strong statement. “We feel that the mayor has become ineffective in leading our city, and we want to make that very clear to the public and show them that we are in solidarity on this issue,” he said.

    Hendricks says Pawlowski told the council he was innocent when the investigation broke. He says the mayor recently confronted him in church about the impending vote. “And I told him, I said, ‘Mayor, you lied to us before.’ I said, you know, ‘your credibility has taken a hit,'” Hendricks said.

    Pawlowski has not been charged with a crime. But court documents say the schemes were led by an elected official who has control over certain city contracts and announced a bid for U.S. Senate on April 17, 2015. The mayor is the only person who matches that description.

    Several Allentown officials whom the mayor supervises have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, including the city’s former finance director, Garrett Strathearn, and its former controller, Mary Ellen Koval.

    The mayor doesn’t have to resign, despite the resolution. But Hendricks says he hopes the vote gets through to Pawlowski. “I would hope that he would decide, for the sake of the city and its citizens, to give strong consideration to stepping aside,” Hendricks said.

    A statement by Pawlowski, read aloud at the vote, said the mayor was in Washington, D.C. attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors, but that he remains “committed to serving the city and its residents” as mayor, according to The Morning Call.

    The mayor’s attorney echoed those sentiments in a separate statement, adding that the vote was a “political stunt,” WFMZ reports.

    The council can remove Pawlowski if it finds him guilty of an unlawful act in office.

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