Harrisburg, Pa., will start the clock again on the search for yet another city treasurer after recent appointee Timothy East resigned Tuesday amid revelations of his personal bankruptcy.

City solicitor Neil Grover told reporters the City Council has 30 days to name a replacement, as it did in September when it selected East after John Campbell followed charges that he stole money from two nonprofit organizations.

"It's been a learning experience all the way along," Grover said at a late-afternoon press conference at City Hall. Grover confirmed that East resigned at 3:45 p.m.

East filed a personal bankruptcy in 2011 that is still open. News of the filing surfaced when he reported it on an application for an insurance company to bond him.

The council conducted criminal background checks, but not personal checks, when it screened East and five other candidates to serve the last 15 months of Campbell's part-time, $20,000-per-year term.

East did not mention his bankruptcy. He told council members: "I think the primary skills that the city treasurer should have should be an understanding of cash management operations, including investment operations, trading operations and investment management."

Grover said the council need not limit its new search to the five September candidates. They included former city controller Dan Miller, who lost last year's general election for mayor to Eric Papenfuse.

Former city treasurer Paul Wambach will resume his interim role, said Glover. Wambach held the treasurer position for 20 years, but did not seek re-election in 2012.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico charged Campbell with stealing money from two nonprofits: Lighten Up Harrisburg, a program designed to fix street lights and run by the Historic Harrisburg Association, and the gay-and-lesbian advocacy group Equality Pennsylvania.

Harrisburg television station WHTM, citing court documents, reported that East owed $236,000, including $219,000 on a home valued at $125,000. Credit-card bills and other bills totaled about $16,000.

Pennsylvania's 49,000-population capital narrowly avoided bankruptcy last year by crafting a financial recovery plan that erased more than $600 million of debt. The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania approved the plan last September.

The city exited state receivership in March, though it's still under state oversight through the Act 47 workout program for distressed communities.


 

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