City mayor sought Montoursville superintendency

Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana applied for the Montoursville Area School District superintendent’s position that became vacant earlier this year.

Information from the state’s Office of Open Records revealed that Campana’s name had been redacted by the school district when information about the superintendent’s position came up in emails requested by a district resident.

Rumors had swirled that the mayor sought the position, although he was not hired for the job that became vacant when Dr. Timothy Bowers resigned from the position and took a similar job in the Williamsport Area School District.

The mayor, for his part, conceded that he did indeed seek the position.

“I have a doctorate (degree) and I have always looked at employment opportunities to better my family,” he said.

Campana said his salary as mayor is less than that of a full-time public school teacher, a job he held before becoming mayor.

As mayor, Campana’s salary is about $70,000 a year.

Montoursville Superintendent Christina Bason was hired earlier this year at an annual salary of $127,000.

Campana said if he had been hired as superintendent, he would have stayed on as mayor.

“I make less than I made eight years ago (as a teacher),” said Campana, who has five children. “I’ve looked at other opportunities to help my family as well.”

He said, for him, family comes first.

Last month, the Sun-Gazette revealed interest in the job from an unspecified person whose name had been redacted from emails received through a Right-to-Know request filed with the state Office of Open Records.

Josh Young, a district resident, had requested emails connected to Karen Wright, who was appointed in the spring to fill a vacancy on the school board.

He said at the time he was not seeking emails regarding applicants for the superintendent job, but some of them were linked to Wright.

Young said he did become concerned when Campana’s name initially was blacked out of the emails.

However, he and Bason reportedly later contacted the Office of Open Records about the legality of redacting the name. It later was released.

“I spoke with the Office of Open Records to see if the district could redact the name,” Young said. “I notified Ms. Bason. She said she would contact them as well. We both spoke to the same person. They said it had to be supplied.”

Bason said it initially was her understanding that such information related to employment is exempt from the Open Records law.

City Councilwoman Bonnie Katz said some city officials knew Campana was looking for another job.

Katz said she has a real problem with the mayor seeking the Montoursville position.

“First of all, a superintendent is a full-time job. How can he do both (jobs)?” she said. “Someone is going to get short-changed. We have a lot of responsibilities in the city he should be overseeing.”