Thursday, July 10, 2014

Get on the bus with our dollars

April 15. 2013 10:58PM
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MAYBE IT was one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time” sort of things. Seven years ago the city of Wilkes-Barre bought a used school bus for $9,000. An even better idea might have been to recover that money when it became apparent the bus couldn’t be used.

As reported by Terrie Morgan-Besecker in The Times Leader on Thursday, the city administration bought the used bus with some noble intentions. The idea was that it would be used to transport seasonal workers to job sites. The bus could be used to move residents in mass evacuations during disasters.

It didn’t work out that way. Seasonal workers found other ways to the job sites. Mass evacuees found other ways out of town. So the bus was never used.

The city couldn’t register the vehicle because of title problems. That alone should have stopped the transaction before money was transferred. At least among a reasonable buyer and seller.

But instead of solving the problem or returning the bus and getting the money back, the used school bus sits on the lot of the Department of Public Works. A $9,000 yellow bust.

Debate all you want about whether this was a good idea. What is indisputable is that inertia, lack of oversight or initiative to recover the money or get rid of the bus is frustrating and inexcusable.

It sends a message to city employees, taxpayers and anyone who does business with the city that taxpayer dollars were squandered.

During that same time period the city bought a van from United Sanitation, a company owned by LAG towing contractor Leo Glodzik III. The van was returned when a title could not be obtained. The city bought the bus from DeNaples Auto Sales in Dunmore, and the title can be traced to Pace Transportation in Pittston but the ownership was never resolved.

In the big scheme of things does it matter? It certainly doesn’t instill confidence that after nearly seven years there hasn’t been a resolution. Just a $9,000 bust.

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