One year ago we embarked on a new form of government -- home rule. What have we accomplished in that time? On the positive side we established a committee to insure that all appointments to authorities, boards and commissions would be void of cronyism or nepotism. Under the leadership of Linda Houck we did that and the process is ongoing.
I am hard-pressed to name other positive things we accomplished.
We hired a manager who semmingly has taken it upon himself to exclude council from notification of his actions. We have a budget director from Lehigh County who is also a county commissioner. I am told he is the project manager for the New World system union with our time clock. That was done without the knowledge of the council, by the manager and without any contact from people who would be interested.
Lawton fired the most capable person to be the head of the judicial division, Carolee Medico-Olenginski and instead hired a clerk from the Recorder of Deeds office. We have interim divisional heads who are supposed to be in place for no more than 90 days. Most have been in place for at least 11 months. That is a charter violation.
We spent millions of dollars on the exterior of the courthouse, especially the entrances. So what does the manager do? He closes them! Why? No security available to man the doors. We borrowed money to pay our bills the same way it was done in years past, putting us $360 million in debt. We have avoided the charter at every turn.
We missed all the budget deadlines, altered job descriptions to fit certain people or just put people in interim positions without seemingly any forethought. Every time a date of submission for a charter requirement was missed, we had an excuse. Our manager seemingly has usurped the charter at every turn and we as a council allowed it to happen. A glaring example of his failure not to follow the charter is we have no viable administrative code or a personnel code with a list of offenses and penalties because the interim solicitor said there are too many offenses to be listed and covered by a code of penalties. Hence we have no offenses and penalties in place as mandated by the charter.
Were it not for a few zealous public advocates and the Controller of Luzerne County, the minutes of the meetings would be full of excuses for our failures. The ship of county is floundering as it did during the past 12 years. Let us hope that the numerous mistakes of the past year are over and we can succeed. Let us start to follow the charter toward the good government we so direly need.
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Edd Brominski Swoyersville Luzerne County Council Member