Allentown City Hall is located on Hamilton Street in Allentown. Dan McCarthy resigned from his position as solicitor of the city on April 6, following the resignation of former mayor Ed Pawlowski. (Courtesy of Google Maps)

Allentown solicitor resigns, interim mayor selected

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After only a few months in office as the solicitor of Allentown, Dan McCarthy resigned on April 6.

McCarthy resigned when Ray O’Connell was elected the new mayor of Allentown, following the resignation of Ed Pawlowski.

On March 9, Pawlowski was convicted of 47 felonies. McCarthy was one of the last appointees put into office by Pawlowski and displayed a difference in opinion from the majority of the city council regarding O’Connell’s new role as mayor. McCarthy claimed O’Connell’s appointment was a violation of the city charter.

Some members of Allentown city council, including Daryl Hendricks, do not believe O’Connell’s appointment as interim mayor is in violation of the city charter, however, there are still split opinions on the provision.

Hendricks said McCarthy’s perspective on the charter is simply his opinion and lawyers view the charter differently. 

“That’s (McCarthy’s) opinion,” Hendricks said. “You’ll get 10 different opinions from 10 different lawyers. Five on one side and five on the other.” 

McCarthy said he does not have a problem with O’Connell and has known him for years — he simply felt he was ineligible to assume the role of mayor because of the city charter. He also said Pawlowski’s resignation was the best decision for the city.

“If he would have stayed on until the sentencing, it would not have been good for the city or democratic process,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy said he did not decide to resign from his position only because of the difference of opinion. Though his position was approved around Feb. 21, the city council essentially put his appointment on hold when the Pawlowski trial was underway.

”The appointment that was made in January had a 60-day window that was going to end in March,” McCarthy said. “City Council put the appointment off because they did not want to bind the new mayor.” 

Since the mayor has power over the solicitor, McCarthy said there wouldn’t have been a problem having a solicitor who served under a former mayor.

“The city solicitor serves the mayor, so he (could) fire me when he (wanted),” McCarthy said.
“(I said) I’m going to make the decision easier for you. I am going to submit a letter of resignation.” 

Hendricks said he did not agree with McCarthy’s decision to resign, but felt the last administration was corrupt. So, as one of the last appointments of the Pawlowski administration, he believed McCarthy should have stepped down.

Roger MacLean, the president of the Allentown city council, also disagreed with McCarthy’s resignation, but said he abided by it. MacLean also said he did not vote for O’Connell as mayor.

“(O’Connell) received four votes, which is required (to win),” MacLean said. “I personally voted for someone else to be interim mayor, but he was duly elected by the council and I have and will continue to work with him to make Allentown a better place to live, work, play and visit for all.”

Hendricks said he has more faith in the O’Connell administration.

“I expect (O’Connell) to be much more honest than the previous administration was with us,” Hendricks said. “With the previous administration, we were responsible for over a $100 million budget and could not even find where the money for paramedics was going in overtime.”

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