Monday, February 22, 2021

The LuLac Edition #4,473, February 22nd, 2021


Maher with Pittston Mayor Mike Lombardo 

Wendy Cominsky, Paul and current Mayor George Brown in a photo from 2017. 

 Paul with Wilkes-Barre City Controller Darren Snyder. 

(Photos: LuLac archives) 

Every town has one. a political warhorse that was a staple at every election event, rally, gathering or summer picnic. Lackawanna and Luzerne have had their share of political people like these hat loved politics. The governing for many was just the necessary stuff that needed to get done until the next election.

Wilkes Barre city and Luzerne County lost one of those this weekend. Paul Maher passed away at the age of 87. His list of accomplishments and volunteer efforts were many.   But it was politics and government where he was the star.

The Citizen’s Voice tells us that starting in in 1971 Paul began working for the City of Wilkes Barre as coordinator of federal funds. According to Mr. Maher, the highlight of that position was working with the late Congressman Dan Flood, where a grant was obtained for a manpower program, at no cost to the city that was responsible for 30 people being hired. He actively served the city in the wake of Hurricane Agnes in 1972 attending Flood Recovery Meetings and assisting in setting up trailer parks for flooded city residents. At that time, he formed the South Wilkes-Barre Action Committee and served as chairman.

In 1976, Mr. Maher was appointed as the first Luzerne County budget and personnel director by the late chairman of the commissioner Board, Edmund .C. Wideman Jr. As budget director, he was instrumental in setting regular meetings with row offices and department heads to insure allocations were being kept in line. He also started a program that reached out to the many service clubs and women's organizations to get their input on the budget process.

In 1985, Mr. Maher became a field representative for Congressman Paul Kanjorski of the 11th Congressional District. He spent the next 26 years working with Congressman Kanjorski and performed many duties. He served as a liaison to all unions in the 11th District and handled many small business inquiries. He represented the congressman at countless fund-raisers, ribbon-cuttings, ground breakings and community events. Veteran political observers considered him to be savvy and astute. Many sought him out for his advice over the years.

It was fitting that Maher, who worked with Congressman Flood initially literally became the eyes and ears of Congressman Kanjorski. He attended many meetings and was known for his quiet but sage advice.

After retirement from work, there was still politics. If you were a candidate seeking office, you’d take a meeting with Mr. Maher. But unlike many political operatives who demanded that their ring be kissed, Paul just laid out the pitfalls as well as the opportunities for one’s candidacy.

He religiously attended 6th District Committee meetings and up until recently was seen at many an event. My personal Paul Maher story was about his sheer tenacity to be in the center of the action.

During the 2019 primary campaign for Mayor, Tony George had a rally at an eatery that was divided into three sections. Paul arrived with his walker. At the time I too was relying on a cane to get around. Paul came through the door and started to talk to me and a few others in a sparsely populated room of the restaurant/bar.  He asked us where the rest of the people were. We told him there was a bigger room down below but there was only one large step and it was a dilly. The signature eyebrows went up, he looked into the room where the majority of the crowd was and said, “Well I’m going down there”. With walker and dexterity, he made the leap and worked the room. Well seeing that, the rest of us, younger and more able followed.

Paul Maher… the end was the type of guy you just had to follow.  He was never afraid to politically and socially take the leap of faith (or a big step in any direction) to be with his political folk.

He will be missed.   



Democrat Mario Fiorucci announces his candidacy for mayor of Sugar Notch.

His platform includes, restoring “order to council meetings and make sure proper procedures are being followed,” Fiorucci said in his campaign announcement. He wants to obtain grants for paving roads and work to repair relations with state representatives and county officials.

Fiorucci, a history and pre-law major, graduated with honors from College Misericordia in 1980. He received an MA from Georgetown University in 1982. He served two years on borough council and is the publisher of Sugar Notch Townews, a free community newsletter, since 1998.

For more on Fiorucci’s candidacy visit,


At 5:33 PM, Blogger David DeCosmo said...

So sorry to learn of Paul's passing. He was always helpful to those of us in the news media and was often in the spotlight representing the congressman at events he could not attend. A dedicated public servant. See you later Paul!


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