By David DeKok
HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - The city council of Allentown, Pennsylvania, is expected to vote on Wednesday on a resolution expressing "no confidence" in Mayor Ed Pawlowski and urging him to resign as an FBI corruption investigation swirls around city hall.
All seven city council members co-sponsored the non-binding resolution, which would draw a line between Pawlowski, who has been mayor of Pennsylvania’s third-largest city for 10 years, and the rest of the city's government.
The vote follows federal indictments of three members of Pawlowski’s administration over allegations of a pay-to-play scheme benefiting the mayor. All three have pleaded guilty.
“No, he doesn’t have to resign,” said City Councilman Julio Gurido. “He can stay there until they arrest him.”
Pawlowski’s spokesman, Mike Moore, said the mayor would not attend the council meeting and had no plan to resign.
Removing an elected official in Pennsylvania is relatively difficult unless that official is convicted of a serious crime. Only the state legislature can remove a mayor through impeachment.
Council President Raymond O'Connell said the council may have other options if the mayor refused to resign after the vote.
"We do have a next step that is available and we are pursuing that now," he said in an email.
Dale Wiles, a former assistant city solicitor, pleaded guilty in December to withholding documents from the FBI. Gary Strathearn, the former finance director, and Mary Ellen Koval, the former city controller, pleaded guilty this month to fraud charges.
Court papers identify the purported master of the scheme as "Public Official #3." The city council resolution says Pawlowski is the only city official who fits the description.
Pawlowski needed campaign funds in 2014 for an abortive run for governor, and in 2015 for an announced bid for the U.S. Senate that ended when the FBI raided city hall on July 2, 2015.
“We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of an investigation,” said Patricia Hartman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
(Reporting By David DeKok and Frank McGurty; editing by Grant McCool)