Bob Mellow

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Bob Mellow
President pro tempore
of the Pennsylvania Senate
In office
November 18, 1992[1] – March 15, 1994
Preceded byRobert Jubelirer
Succeeded byRobert Jubelirer
Democratic Leader
of the Pennsylvania Senate
In office
March 15, 1994 – November 30, 2010
Preceded byWilliam Lincoln
Succeeded byJay Costa
In office
January 3, 1989 – November 18, 1992
Preceded byEdward Zemprelli
Succeeded byWilliam Lincoln
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate
from the 22nd district
In office
January 5, 1971 – November 30, 2010
Preceded byArthur Piasecki
Succeeded byJohn Blake
Personal details
Born (1943-12-10) December 10, 1943 (age 76)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceBlakely, Pennsylvania
Alma materLackawanna College Bethel College

Robert J. Mellow is a Democratic politician and former member of the Pennsylvania State Senate, who represented the 22nd District from 1971 to 2010. He also served as the Minority Floor Leader and President pro tempore.


Mellow was born on December 10, 1943 in Scranton, Pennsylvania to James and Alice (Generotti) Mellow. He is of mixed Irish and Italian ancestry. He has lived in Lackawanna County his entire life.[citation needed] Mellow served in the National Guard from 1962 to 1968 and, afterwards, attended Lackawanna Junior College and University of Scranton. He earned his BS in accounting from Bethel College.

Political career[edit]

He was elected to the State Senate in 1970, defeating Republican incumbent Arthur Piasecki, and was the Democratic caucus leader 1989 through 2010. Mellow represented the 22nd district, which included all of Lackawanna County and neighboring portions of Monroe County and Luzerne County. When the Democrats held the majority in the Senate from 1992 to 1994, Mellow served as the President Pro Tempore.

Mellow is a supporter of efforts to establish a medical school in Scranton. He successfully appropriated $35 million of the estimated $100 million cost in the state capital budget.[2]

As president pro tempore, Mellow was the first lawmaker to authorize the use of television cameras on the state Senate floor to broadcast live Senate sessions.[3]

Mellow indicated interest in running for the Governor's office in 2010.[4] However, he ultimately did not run for Governor, and announced his intention not to seek re-election to the Senate in 2010.[5] He was succeeded as the Democratic floor leader by Jay Costa.[6]

2005 Pay Raise[edit]

Mellow was one of the leaders of the ill-fated legislative pay raise in 2005.[7] He told constituent Bill McIntyre to "Get a life" in an email exchange about the pay raise bill.[8] This phrase became a rallying cry for reformers that year.[9]

Federal investigation[edit]

In March 2012, Mellow agreed to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and filing a false income tax return.[10] Mellow formally pleaded guilty on May 9, 2012 to a conspiracy charge related to using Senate staff members to do political work and filing a false tax return.[11]

During the proceedings, U.S. District Judge Joel H. Slomsky thoroughly laid out the charges and the plea agreement for the former senator, making sure Mellow understood the plea agreement and the consequences of it. Asked if he understood that he could receive a maximum prison sentence of five years, Mellow replied "I do". He gave the same answer when asked if he understood he was pleading guilty to a felony and that it would affect his ability to vote and hold a political office. He was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison on November 30, 2012. Mellow's state funded pension was $138,958 free of state and local income taxation. He forfeited his pension when he was sent to federal prison after his political corruption and tax evasion convictions. However, his pension was later restored in 2017, in a narrow 6-5 decision. [12]

After serving his sentence, in 2014 all other charges were dismissed.[13][14]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Senate Floor Leaders since 1950". The Pennsylvania Manual. 118. Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Department of General Services. 2007. pp. 3–265. Archived from the original on 2011-10-01. Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  2. ^ Josh Brogadir, $35 Million Grant for Scranton Medical School, WNEP News, 10/30/07[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Micaehl Race, Senate Dem leader: Open records law overhaul needed", The Daily and Sunday Review, Towanda, Pennsylvania, 1/25/07[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Thomas Fitzgerald, Lawmaker considering a run for governor, Philadelphia Inquirer, 8/7/07[permanent dead link]
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "House Bill No. 151 Session of 2005". Pennsylvania General Assembly Committee of Conference.
  8. ^ The Times-Tribune - Politicians peek from bunker, see unemployment line Archived November 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Archived January 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Former Pa. state senator to plead guilty in corruption case
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-07. Retrieved 2012-05-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Robert Swift (July 19, 2012). "Former State Sen Robert Mellow Appeals Pension loss decision". The Times Tribune.
  13. ^ [1] | Final charge dropped against former Pa. senator in pay-to-play turnpike scandal By The Associated Press | October 16, 2014 at 5:34 PM, updated October 16, 2014 at 5:38 PM | [2]
  14. ^ [3]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Jubelirer
President pro tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate
Succeeded by
Robert Jubelirer
Party political offices
Preceded by
Edward Zemprelli
Democratic Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate
Succeeded by
William Lincoln
Preceded by
William Lincoln
Democratic Leader of the Pennsylvania Senate
Succeeded by
Jay Costa
Pennsylvania State Senate
Preceded by
Arthur Piasecki
Member of the Pennsylvania Senate for the 22nd District
Succeeded by
John Blake