Keith Lewis holds the post of Lackawanna City Council president. And by day, he is assistant superintendent for the Lackawanna City School District.
Third Ward Councilman Joseph Jerge has a problem with that.
"I don't believe it's an ethical issue, but certainly it is not ideal for the taxpayer," Jerge said. "If I’m a council member and I have an issue with the schools and I call over there and Keith answers the phone, which hat does he wear?"
Lewis, a lifelong Lackawanna resident, said he would listen to the advice of the city attorney.
"I believe I can impact the community the most by being in both positions," he said. "If the city attorney deems it a conflict of interest, I will recuse myself from Council voting. I'll be finishing my sixth year on the City Council at the end of this month, and I don’t recall anything that would have been considered a conflict of interest."
Lewis, who started as a teacher's aide some 25 years ago in the Iroquois Central School District, also served as physical education teacher in the Dunkirk City School District and most recently was director of physical education, health and athletics in the Cleveland Hill Union Free School District.
In his current role of assistant superintendent in Lackawanna, Lewis is teamed up with Superintendent Anne Spadone, who already announced her retirement at the end of the school year.
Still, Jerge was critical of Lewis, and posed this question.
"Is he more beholden to the people that elected him at $16K per year or the ones that appointed him for $130K per year with the carrot dangling for the head job. I would think anyone might have a hard time with that."