New Castle News

Closer Look

October 15, 2013

Our Opinion: New Castle employee lacks focus on community

NEW CASTLE — When Matthew Staniszewski was hired as New Castle’s economic development director, we had reservations.

It wasn’t just that Staniszewski lacked the educational background that was advertised as necessary for the position, he had other problems. These included convictions for drunk driving and a history of incidents as a member of city council in Washington, Pa., that called into question his judgment and maturity.

We weren’t the only ones doubtful about Staniszewski. New Castle City Council agreed to hire him by a narrow 3-2 vote. Yet with that action, we hoped that Staniszewski would quietly go about the task of focusing on economic development in New Castle and putting his exploits in Washington behind him.

However, it doesn’t seem to be working out that way.

The New Castle News learned last week that Staniszewski continues to serve on council in Washington. And not only that, he has a campaign going on for re-election — complete with signs posted around that community.

One of the requirements for the New Castle economic development director slot is that the person hired live in the city. Staniszewski said he has rented an apartment in New Castle, but if that’s the case, why is he still on council in Washington, why is there a re-election campaign going on?

When asked about this by The News, Staniszewski offered a variety of nonsensical responses. Declaring he is committed to New Castle, he called it a “moot point” that he is still on council in Washington.

But it’s not a moot point. If he no longer lives in that community, he cannot serve as a councilman there.

Although it is too late now for candidates to remove their names from the November general election ballot in Pennsylvania, Staniszewski could have done so when New Castle agreed to hire him. But he told The News it was too late to do so by the time he had passed his physical examination for the job and began actual work on Sept. 16.

Yet that doesn’t explain the campaign signs in Washington.

Staniszewski went on to compare his situation to that of New Castle Councilman Tom Smith, who works as borough manager in the community of Seven Fields. But it’s not the same.

Smith is absolutely a resident of New Castle. And Seven Fields does not require him to live there.

If we were Staniszewski’s superior, we would be wondering about his intentions. Is he committed to New Castle as he claims, or is his job here a fall-back option if he loses re-election in Washington?

Staniszewski’s split interests are creating an embarrassment for Mayor Anthony Mastrangelo and council. We think they took a big chance on him, and he’s rewarding them with more dubious conduct.

City officials need to get some clarity from Staniszewski and make sure he’s either fully focused here or else part ways with him.

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