Last updated: April 07. 2013 10:56PM - 4896 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com - (570) 991-6388

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Several Luzerne County Council members said last week they have no problem with the public posting of emails they send each other.

Some citizens pressed council members Tuesday to either post the emails or stop using email to discuss county matters between meetings.

“Everything has to be out in the open, which it is not. We don’t want to go back to what we were years ago,” said Kingston resident Ed Gustitus, referring to the government system before home rule when commissioners often deliberated and reached decisions privately.

Council Chairman Tim McGinley said a system to post emails is in the works.

* County Manager Robert Lawton recently said negotiations are under way to rent unused space in the county Penn Place building in downtown Wilkes-Barre to U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, for a district office.

Lawton told council the agreement would generate revenue for the county and provide county officials with direct access to the legislator. The building is at the corner of Market Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

* Councilman Stephen A. Urban recently asked county Chief Engineer Joe Gibbons what’s happening with the caretaker’s house at county-owned Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township.

Lovelia Livezey, who retired in 2003, was the last park director to live rent-free in the three-bedroom, lakefront house.

Gibbons said the house has been maintained and secured. The park master plan says the building might someday be used as a meeting center for nature education training and seminars, he said.

* Home rule charter drafter Jim Haggerty, an attorney, said he is confident the charter allows newly hired Budget and Financial Services Division Chief Richard M. Cardamone to serve on the county retirement board without residing in the county.

Councilman Edward Brominski opposed Cardamone’s hiring, in part because the charter refers to a residency requirement for board appointees. The retirement board oversees the employee pension fund, which has required millions of dollars in annual taxpayer subsidies for stabilization.

Haggerty said the charter requires the budget/finance director to sit on the board, regardless of residency. The charter residency clause applies to non-employee citizens appointed to county boards and authorities, he said.

“The charter did not intend to create a residency requirement for one division head and not the seven others,” Haggerty said.

* Tuesday’s council meeting, which starts at 7:15 p.m. in the council meeting room at the county courthouse, is poised to be a late-night session with a packed agenda.

In addition to processing Chief Public Defender Al Flora’s annual report, council is expected to vote on two division head appointments and several requests from various departments.

* A lease for the new Kingston Senior Center is among the department requests for council approval Tuesday.

The recent sale of the center’s leased building on Wyoming Avenue forced the county to find a new location.

The aging office proposes a $5,685-per-month lease with Carbondale resident Joseph Soliman for 4,037-square-feet of space in a business property at 335 Third Ave.

The lease would take effect when renovations are completed, no later than June 1, and run four years with options to renew for two more years.

* Tuesday’s meeting starts later because council plans to meet more than an hour in closed-door executive session to meet and question Lawton’s division head nominees — attorney Steven M. Greenwald for chief public defender and attorney C. David Pedri for chief county solicitor.

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