It’s a bit unusual for a top state official to endorse in a Scranton mayor race, but you can understand state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale endorsing in this one.

DePasquale, a Democrat, today endorsed former Scranton School Director Paige Cognetti, the Democrat turned independent who is on unpaid leave from her job as his $92,499-a-year special assistant.

He called Cognetti “the leader Scranton needs to stop the corruption and waste at City Hall and move the city forward.”

In October 2017, DePasquale issued his scathing report on the state of the school district’s finances. Two months after that, Cognetti applied for the school board vacancy created when Jim Timlin resigned. She got the appointment.

She is the kind of person who runs at problems, not away from them,” DePasquale says in a news release from Cognetti’s campaign. “I took notice of Paige’s work on the school board and admired her fight. She is truly a bulldog for taxpayers who doesn’t back down when she sees abuse of taxpayer dollars – especially if those dollars are supposed to go to educating our kids.”

Her persistence spurred him to hire her, DePasquale said.

Facing a board majority that wouldn’t make necessary changes, I knew Paige could do more for Scranton from Harrisburg. Paige wrote my March recommendations for the district’s recovery plan, which included calling for the cancellation of the bus contract. She is not afraid to take on the entrenched interests holding places like Scranton back,” DePasquale said.

Paige is passionate about fighting for seniors, people who have crushing student loans, and individuals and families suffering from Pennsylvania’s severe opioid crisis. She has the technical skills to put that passion into policy proposals and the leadership skills to drive them forward.”

Cognetti faces six people in the Nov. 5 special election for mayor: Chris Cullen, the Democratic nominee, Charlie Spano, the Republican nominee, and independents Kyle Donahue, John Goshleski, Giovanni Piccolino and Gary St. Fleur.