Last updated: October 31. 2013 11:40PM - 1352 Views

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Change sought


in school board


The Times Leader’s editorial titled “Want less crime? Invest in children” was point on.


I have a shirt provided by the Harrisburg Intermediate Unit that has a statement just over the pocket: “Children Come First.” I wear that shirt often because I truly believe it. Many readers have encouraged me to “keep writing,” because they feel the same way.


I must admit to serious frustration at the lack of response by our “educators,” in fact, by the apparent apathy on the part of the parents and taxpayers. My previous guest commentary contained specific plans to improve the district. I never heard a word from any of the nine school board members.


The attitude that “it will never change so why try,” must change. It appears that the stakeholders do not realize the gravity of the situation. The Wilkes Barre Area dysfunctional School Board has experienced fraud in the ranks, teachers who committed a crime by bribing for their teaching jobs, the employment of teachers and support staff with questionable certification and state reports that indicate low academic achievement of the students. This is the group responsible for the education of our children.


This editorial, as well as recent editorial positions, suggest that we better look closely at what we are doing for our children: “Invest in our children.” This will be very difficult to accomplishment if the “role models” — and board members (policy makers), administrators and teachers — continue with the fraud, bribery, nepotism and cronyism.


With all that has transpired in this district, at best, a handful of parents and taxpayers show up at meetings, and one or two might speak.


Priorities? A recent commentary by Anne Michaud, a member of the Newsday editorial board, appeared under the headline “Drop sports for students’ sake.” I do not subscribe to this opinion, but if there were to be even a mention or rumor of this possibility in any of the local school districts, the board meeting would have to be held at the arena.


Priorities? This editorial addresses the need to take note of the education of our children to help in the efforts to reduce violence in our community. Finally it is recognized that the house is collapsing, we better look at the foundation — the foundation is the education of our children.


A very good start as it relates to the Wilkes-Barre Area School District is the Tuesday election in which boards seats are up for election; everyone, get out and vote, and encourage family and friends to do the same. You see the same people are re-elected, which I attribute to low voter turnout.


Richard A. Holodick


Wilkes Barre


Oust incumbents


on county council


On Feb. 12 four current members of Luzerne County Council voted to discontinue the services of your local tax collector and to expand our county employee base to collect your taxes in-house; this, on the premise we would save $253,167.33 a year.


Not only did these four incumbent candidates ignore the inaccuracy of the projection, they also seemingly chose to ignore the law pertaining to tax collection as pointed out by attorney Michael J. Savona. Recently, the tax collectors case was heard and a decision will be made as to the legality of council’s actions; inquiring minds should be asking why this wouldn’t have been a referendum on the ballot to let the taxpaying citizens of Luzerne County decide how they want their taxes collected. The answer should be obvious.


Now, they are talking about establishing satellite offices throughout the county for the purpose of collecting your county taxes. I wonder how much that will cost, since it was not part of the projected savings. Your 69 elected tax collectors throughout the county have served as satellite offices for decades, which cost the county nothing.


The big question is whether the hiring of three full-time people is going to provide the same degree of service at the same rate of collection that is given by your local elected tax collector. I guess the proof will be in the pudding at the end of 2014. Because of the decision of these four incumbents, we, the taxpayers, will be on the hook for the payment of more full-time benefits and eventually be paying for the workers’ retirement benefits. Elected tax collectors receive no benefits or retirement. The paying of these medical and retirement benefits is one of the main reasons we are in the shape we are in. Again, it makes me wonder who is going to benefit from this move if not the taxpayers of Luzerne County.


Since the incumbents are represented by both parties, and an independent, this is not to be looked at as something that is politically motivated. This is an issue of whether they have acted in the best interest of their constituents and whether they should be re-elected. Ask yourself: “If I were a council member, would I have asked for a referendum of the will of the people or ignore them? Would I really be saving the county money by adding to the burden of benefits and retirement?” The answer should be obvious.


We are asking you not to re-elect the following candidates to county council. Harry Haas, Linda McCloskey Houck, Eugene Kelleher and Rick Williams. A clear message needs to be sent to future candidates that the residents and taxpayers of Luzerne County will not tolerate an agenda that ignores the will of the people.


Mildred Luba


President


Luzerne County Tax Collectors Association


Voting a breeze


in Luzerne County


As the election approaches, I’ve been hearing so much negativity about our county government. But, I must give high praise to our Luzerne County Election Bureau and how staff members go out of their way to help you.


I have a physical disability and for many years I’ve been voting by absentee ballot through the mail. I just place a call to the election bureau and the nice people send me the application for the absentee ballot. Not long after I submit the application I receive the actual ballot to send in and cast my vote.


It’s easy. There’s no excuse not to vote! Don’t squander a chance to have a voice in your government, especially in Kingston where there is a critical mayoral race at stake. In addition, Kingston has eight polling places, most within reasonable walking distance for most able-bodied people.


People in some countries risk their lives just to have the chance to vote. Don’t waste your opportunities.


Jeanne E. Shuella


Kingston


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