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Jim Wansacz and Corey O’Brien rolled to victory in Tuesday’s election for Lackawanna County commissioner, keeping the Democrats in control as the county struggles against a deepening financial crisis that is all but certain to lead to a sharp property tax increase in 2012.

Patrick O’Malley outdistanced fellow Republican Bill Jones II to claim the minority commissioner seat.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, Mr. Wansacz and Mr. O’Brien vowed to pull the county together to work in a bipartisan way for the common good.

“The results have proven the voters of Lackawanna County want us to put politics aside and get to work to produce for Lackawanna County,” Mr. Wansacz, 39, of Old Forge, said.

Mr. O’Brien, 38, of Moosic, the first-term commissioner who was the only incumbent in the race, said he and Mr. Wansacz “are going to put our boots on and get to work.”

It is time, he said, to turn the page on a new chapter in the county and focus on job creation so the children and grandchildren of county residents will have a better place to live, work and play.

“It’s jobs that will define our future, and that is our job,” he said.

Mr. Wansacz, a former five-term state representative, was the top vote-getter, followed closely by Mr. O’Brien. Mr. O’Malley, 42, a Scranton school director, was a solid but distant third.

David Singleton
The Times Tribune