Lehigh Valley

Candidate for Allentown mayor may face ethics code conflict

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Another candidate is jumping into the political fray for Allentown mayor, however, the candidate said he's doing so despite possible ethics codes complications.

Luiz Garcia became the 10th candidate for mayor and the third Republican after his announcement Thursday afternoon.

"I want to be able to lead this city into a new era," said Garcia, a lifelong resident of Allentown.

The Republican candidate's vision got a bit cloudy, however, when Garcia, who is currently an officer on the Allentown police force, said Chief Keith Morris advised him running for mayor would be in violation of the city's administrative code.

In part, the code states city officials and employees, or those seeking office on their own behalf, shall not take an active part in political campaigns for candidates of city office.

"I know other city employees have run in the past and have won a seat in the city," Garcia said.

In 2013, current Councilman Daryl Hendricks ran for his council seat while still a captain on the city's police force. Hendricks said at no time was he ever told not to run or told it would be a conflict of interest.

City Solicitor Susan Wild, who wasn't the solicitor at the time of Hendricks' run, wouldn't comment on Garcia's case. She did cite Hendricks being close to retiring from the force at the time of his run as a possible reason he wasn't warned.

As for Garcia, he said a warning will not deter him from stepping into the political field.

"I do have attorneys working on those issues and going to move forward," he said.

On Friday, Garcia told 69 News the chief did not instruct him not to run for office. Garcia said the chief advised him to talk with the city solicitor and the ethics board to ensure his [Garcia’s] bases were covered in case someone wanted to challenge his run.

If an employee violates the city's home rule charter, he or she can be fired, however, it's not clear if that's the case for the administrative code.

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