Washington City Councilman Matt Staniszewski will begin working as economic development director for the city of New Castle Sept. 16. The job will require him to establish residence in that city by March 16. Before being offered the position, Staniszewski decided to seek re-election to council and is the Republican candidate on the November ballot.
Those without knowledge or jaded opinion of city politics would expect the candidate to resign his position, in that 1) he must move from Washington to a city 76 miles away; 2) that Washington requires its elected officials to be residents; and 3) that his energy and attention will be necessarily focused on a different city.
But this is Washington, and the candidate is Staniszewski, so there’s no telling what might happen.
When he accepted his new position, Staniszewski would not say if he would resign from council, but he did say, “Every council member, they all have full-time jobs as part of their private life, and I’m just trying to make a living.” That sounds as if the city’s most colorful and contentious councilman of recent vintage is trying to have it both ways.
We should not be surprised. Even when Staniszewski was serving time in jail for a DUI conviction, he refused to surrender his seat, even though he could not attend meetings or perform his duties as director of the city’s street department.
Mayor Brenda Davis said, “Mr. Staniszewski has a decision to make. Does he want to take the job up there or does he want to be a city councilman here?” She – and we – would like an answer.
The city would be much better off if it could deal with the vacancy on council now, rather than having that process dragged well into 2014. Staniszewski, the center of attention for much of his time on council, seems reluctant to step away from the limelight.
We suggest he grow up, and step down.