Gustoff steps down as Scranton mayor
By Brandon Hurley
The city of Scranton is in search of a new mayor just two months shy of local elections.
Single-term mayor Cole Gustoff, resigned from his position Sept. 7, citing personal reasons for his decision. He was a few months short of serving a full, four-year term, taking over the position in 2018.
“I have too much going on at the moment,” Gustoff said when reached for comment.
Gustoff’s resignation leaves Scranton with a significant hole as the impending Nov. 2 election closes in. The city council discussed a variety of options in how to proceed at Tuesday’s weekly meeting. They considered appointing a mayor, but felt the proximity to the next election cycle would deem it unnecessary.
Instead, aided by the approval of mayor pro-tem Jerald Boyd, the council decided to leave the mayoral position vacant until November, hoping a viable candidate steps in for election.
Gustoff believes he and the Scranton city council accomplished a number of good things in his four years. He took office the year RAGBRAI rolled through town, which naturally brought an economic boost, while the following year was bolstered by the town’s sesquicentennial celebration.
“It was hectic, but busy,” Gustoff said. “A lot of good things happened. I enjoyed working with the community on a lot of the projects in town and seeing the parks get done.”
Gustoff took office following the 2017 elections after running against - and defeating - Jerry Erwin, replacing former mayor Randy Winkelman. Gustoff previously served on the Scranton city council for seven years (2010-17), in addition to his 2016 appointment to the local parks and recreation board.
The now former mayor hinted at turnover as to why his governmental role was a bit of a challenge at times. The city of Scranton has struggled with retention of a city clerk, with Gustoff noting how the local entity hired a number of new candidates during his tenure. It was an extensive process on each occassion. The city recently hired Crystal Rice last month as their latest clerk.
“We need someone that knows the ropes,” Gustoff said, touching on his personal preferences for a new mayor. “It’s going to be stressful. (Scranton) has a lot going on. (There will be) training, and making sure it’s done right.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, I wouldn’t run. Now’s not the time for a newbie. Someone that is familiar with budgets and familiar with the city and how it works, that’s the person that needs to run right now.”
The general Scranton city elections will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2.
In other city notes, the Scranton Community Center is hosting its second annual fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 18. Doors open at 5 p.m. with a variety of meal choices available at 6 p.m. Patrons can choose between a ribeye sandwich, smoked pork loin or a smoked leg of lamb, all grilled by the Greene County Pork Producers. Side dishes are provided by the Lidderdale Country Store.
Several live and silent auctions will begin at 7 p.m. Dirt Road Divide will perform music starting at 8:30 p.m.
Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for kids ages 6-12. Advance tickets can be purchased at Peoples Bank in Scranton and the Marchant Library or through committee members.
Proceeds will benefit the community center as well as the Scranton Fire Department, the Scranton parks department and the local library.