AP NEWS

Commissioner Pat O’Malley Picks Domenick As His Running Mate

February 14, 2019

BLAKELY — Promising a “better vision” for Lackawanna County, Commissioner Patrick O’Malley announced attorney Debra “Debi” Domenick as his running mate in the fight for Democratic commissioner nominations this May.

Addressing a crowd of more than 375 people gathered in a chandelier-lit ballroom Wednesday night at Fiorelli Family Catering, his family’s business, the two-term incumbent O’Malley introduced Domenick to thunderous applause. Domenick, 45, of Dunmore, is a political newcomer and part-time assistant public defender for the county, earning an annual salary of $28,840 in that role. The Dickinson School of Law alumnus also runs her own law firm in Scranton.

“As an attorney, she’s the person that’s there to help those that are indigent,” O’Malley said of his new political partner. “As a mother, she’s concerned about what’s going to happen to Lackawanna County. And as a friend to the people of Lackawanna County, she wants to make sure that everything that we vote on or push through our government is the best it can possibly be.”

Domenick noted her mother’s influence on her life, and how her life changed in 2016 when she became a mother to her son, Dylan.

“Having Dylan changed my perspective, because now I work for his life and for his future,” she said, noting she became a public defender shortly thereafter. “I have learned, through my co-workers, through everything they have taught me and through my own experience, what it is to be a civil servant.”

Domenick described combatting the opioid epidemic as her primary priority. After losing a loved one to “the disease of addiction” this past September, she said her passion for helping people suffering from addiction grew.

“I want to do more,” she said. “I feel I could do more.”

O’Malley and Domenick will face off against Commissioner Jerry Notarianni and former county Economic Development Director George W. Kelly Jr. in the May 21 primary election. Others may join the race. Democrats can choose only two nominees to battle the Republican nominees in the municipal election Nov. 5.

Notarianni, who had a falling out with O’Malley after the two Democrats were elected as the majority commissioners in 2015, announced last week that he and Kelly would form a new Democratic ticket. Notarianni accused O’Malley of shutting him out of decision-making and making “backroom” deals, among other accusations.

O’Malley denied the charge, but referenced it Wednesday in a shot at Notarianni.

“This is the difference between great government in Lackawanna County or what the other two are saying it’s going to be,” he said. “It is not going to be any more smoky backroom deals like the other individual talked about, because he’s the only smoky backroom deal there’s ever been.”

Reached later by phone, Notarianni shot back.

“I’m not the one who has a history of not telling the truth,” he said. “I have no backroom deals.”

Commissioners serve four-year terms and earn a base annual salary of $76,017, but the present commissioners voted 2-1 in December to increase that by 4 percent in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. Republican Commissioner Laureen Cummings voted no.

Contact the writer: jhorvath@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9141; @jhorvathTT on Twitter