John Robshaw says he may run for county council next year

Last updated: February 21. 2014 11:42PM - 2860 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com

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Luzerne County 911 Executive Director John Robshaw is resigning March 9 to accept a position outside county government, saying he may run for county council next year.

Robshaw, who also served as interim operational services division head and previously worked as a county security director and appointed sheriff, said in his resignation letter it has been an “honor” to serve county residents.

He also expressed appreciation to county Manager Robert Lawton for providing an opportunity to work on his administrative staff under the home rule government.

“The support I received from you, administrative staff and county employees has made my employment a very pleasant and rewarding experience,” Robshaw, of the Mountain Top area, wrote.

Robshaw, who started working for the county in 2011, said leaving county employment would “allow the possibility” of his candidacy for one of the six council seats up for grabs next year.

“The knowledge and experience gained throughout my employment provides an excellent understanding of the challenges and issues facing the legislative branch of Luzerne County, and a basis for constructive solutions to restore financial integrity to the county,” he wrote.

Robshaw took bold action in October when he sent an email to the county human resources office reporting potential political retaliation against managers supportive of Lawton.

Robshaw said terminated county manager Art Bobbouine told him he had received phone calls from county Councilman Edward Brominski and two council candidates saying they planned to fire Lawton and the managers who support him.

Brominski and the unsuccessful candidates — Mike Giamber and Richard “Kick” Heffron — denied promising to terminate Lawton or seek dismissal of managers hired or promoted since Lawton became manager in February 2012. Bobbouine declined to comment on the conversations.

Robshaw ’s salary increased from $37,500 to $55,000 with his promotion to 911 executive director in September. The 911 position became vacant because Dave Parsnik was promoted to administrative services division head.

Lawton made Robshaw interim division head, with no additional compensation, in October when Chris Belleman left the position to oversee the county Flood Protection Authority. Before his county employment, Robshaw worked as a police officer for 32 years for five municipal police departments in Luzerne County.

Robshaw’s departure increases the tally of top management positions to be filled by Lawton.

An information technology director position has been vacant since Steve Englot retired in October after 15 years of county employment. Englot said he didn’t want to get burned out in a cash-strapped environment where cutbacks and staff reductions are the norm.

Lawton also is seeking a chief engineer and planning/zoning director to replace veteran employees who left last year and has not yet identified an engineer to fill the home rule-mandated operational services division head position.

Council Chairman Rick Morelli sent Lawton an email Friday inquiring about Robshaw’s resignation.

“We’ll have solutions in place prior to his departure,” Lawton replied.

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