Wednesday, July 23, 2014





County workers pay more for health care


March 02. 2014 11:22PM

By - jandes@civitasmedia.com




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Luzerne County’s 275 non-union employees have started paying more toward health insurance to bring their contributions in line with actual costs.


Non-union workers have been paying 10 percent toward health care for a decade, but the payment amounts have not increased since 2008.


Employees are paid every two weeks, and here are the changes per pay by the type of coverage, according to county records: single, $20.25 to $24.31; employee/spouse, $47.99 to $58.25; family, $49.48 to $70.85; and parent/children, $38.07 to $48.55.


• Several citizens complained a council committee headed by Council Vice Chairman Edward Brominski did not interview applicants individually for seats on authorities, boards and commissions as expected last week.


Council members have held up the public interviewing of applicants as a positive development under the home rule government when Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck chaired the committee. Council Chairman Rick Morelli said council members will review the matter.


• County Election Board Chairman H. Jeremy Packard sent Morelli an email urging council to fill at least one of two vacancies on the five-member board. The home rule charter requires two Democrats and two Republicans to serve on the board along with a fifth member — currently Packard — selected by the other four.


Democrat Barbara Williams’ term expired, and she has applied for reappointment to the unpaid post. Republican John Newman is not seeking reappointment to his expired seat.


“Without the two vacant memberships the board has a bare quorum of three,” Packard wrote.


The home rule charter says a resident can petition the county court to make appointments if vacancies aren’t filled within 60 days.


“One would hope that such a procedure would not be necessary,” Packard wrote.


• Four council committees —- judicial services/justice, correctional services, administrative and operational services — will meet Tuesday starting at 5:30 p.m. in the council meeting room at the courthouse.


• Interim county Planning/Zoning Director Nancy Snee will attend the operational services committee to discuss Pringle resident Christine Dixon’s request to reverse a county zoning ordinance ban on chickens (not roosters) in residential areas.


The borough is among 23 municipalities that rely on the county for zoning, and a change in county regulations would apply to all of them. In addition to Pringle, the county-covered municipalities are: Avoca, Courtdale, Dupont, Duryea, Hughestown, Jeddo, Laflin, Larksville, Luzerne, New Columbus, Warrior Run, West Wyoming, Wyoming and Yatesville boroughs and Conyngham, Fairmount, Hunlock, Huntington, Lake, Newport, Ross and Union townships.


The committee is expected to discuss whether more information and feedback are needed to develop a recommendation to the full council.


• A possible ordinance banning smoking around the courthouse is among the agenda topics for the administrative committee.


Prior commissioners banned the use of tobacco within 20 feet of all county buildings in November 2007, but smokers still regularly light up along the courthouse perimeter.


Former county controller Walter Griffith raised the issue in the summer 2012, expressing his disgust over cigarette butts littering county government property.




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