Mayor’s receipts probe correctly goes to state AG

The Lycoming County district attorney’s office was requested in October by Williamsport City Council to review reimbursement receipts submitted by Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

The office found “several reimbursements that may in fact be illegitimate.”

That should put to rest any assumption that City Council is merely being petty in questioning some of the mayor’s actions. It’s council’s job to make sure the mayor is playing by the rules regarding anything that involves city funds.

The DA’s office believes the reimbursements are worthy “of further criminal investigation.”

The office has turned over the investigation to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, which has a new leader with the dismissal of Kathleen Kane earlier this year. Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt is confident his office could have completed its investigation “in an unbiased and professional manner.”

But he believes it is vital that the investigation’s integrity be unquestioned so that the public has confidence in the outcome. And the DA has a nine-year professional relationship with the mayor, given the two elected offices they hold.

That led him to refer the matter to the state Attorney General’s office. The DA added that the referral does not mean there have been any conclusions about ethical missteps or criminal wrongdoing.

We believe this is the correct step. Whatever the outcome of this investigation is, that outcome has to come from a place removed from local elected officials. Otherwise, there will always be a perception by some that the work is tainted.

That’s especially true given that the mayor has already called the investigation “a witchhunt.”

In our, the amounts of money involved are less significant than the actual concern of misuse of city funds by an elected official. If there is even a hint of that, it deserves full, unbiased investigation by the appropriate offices, and that’s just what is going on.

Coming Sunday: Council/mayor woes scream for change in city’s form of government

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