Luzerne County Council members Jim Bobeck and Edward Brominski have become polar opposites on some county matters and happen to sit next to each other at council meetings.
This seating arrangement prompted an interesting exchange at Tuesday’s public meeting, when Brominski brought up a complaint and then whipped a sheet of paper onto the floor for effect.
Bobeck reacted as if he believed the gesture was an accident, walking behind Brominski and around the table to retrieve the paper for him.
Brominski said he meant to throw the paper and tossed it back in the floor after Bobeck returned to his seat.
When Brominski finished going through a series of issues, Bobeck got up again, collected the paper on the floor, crumpled it into a ball and tossed it to the council clerk to recycle.
* Another Bobeck-Brominski clash resurfaced later in the week, when interim Judicial Services and Records Division head Joan Hoggarth sent an email to council saying the wills office had replied in December to an outside attorney seeking information.
Brominski had criticized the division during the council meeting for ignoring the attorney’s request.
Bobeck sent an email to Hoggarth thanking her for her response.
“I look forward to a day where such complaints are dealt with internally and addressed before inaccuracies occur publicly,” Bobeck wrote.
* Brominski replied to council that he followed up on the matter, and the attorney had no record of a response from the county in December.
“Be assured that any matter I present to the council for consideration is not frivolous and is for the best of the order. I am not seeking publicity on any issues but just bringing issues to the forefront that I feel deserve consideration. I certainly don’t need for Jim (Perry Mason) Bobeck taking the position against my efforts, and will from now on take issue with any attempts by him to play lawyer from his council seat,” Brominski wrote.
Brominski also complained during the meeting about the election bureau’s hiring of the family members of some election employees as temporary workers before the November election. He also said the election bureau hasn’t fully responded to concerns about November election problems raised by a citizen.
* Bobeck asked council Chairman Tim McGinley on Tuesday to schedule a one-year report from court officials, similar to annual reports recently presented by the manager, controller and district attorney. Bobeck said the council and the public may be unaware of changes and developments in court branches over the past year.
An update from the county Redevelopment Authority also is warranted, Bobeck said, because some citizens have been questioning the status of the Market Street Square train station in downtown Wilkes-Barre, which is owned by the authority.
McGinley said he will schedule both updates.
* Twenty people recently applied for two or three non-union sheriff lieutenant positions, and nine finalists will be interviewed later this month, said county interim Sheriff John Robshaw.
Robshaw said the lieutenants are needed because he is the only management-level employee authorized to give orders in the sheriff’s department. He is paying for the lieutenants using funds allocated for two now-vacant union deputy sheriff positions.
* Because of frequent critiques lodged at council meetings, some county insiders are using a new description for the sessions: “Tuesday night dart league.”
* Three county meetings will be held Tuesday: Flood Protection Authority, 11 a.m., county Emergency Management Agency building, Water Street, Wilkes-Barre; Council Legislative Outreach Committee, 5:30 p.m., council meeting room, first floor of the courthouse; and County Council, 6 p.m., council meeting room.
* County Manager Robert Lawton is slated to present an update on finances during the council meeting. McGinley also scheduled a council discussion on workforce standards that council members want to start negotiating into expired union contracts.
* Lawton won’t be presenting a proposed candidate for the budget/finance division head position to council for its confirmation Tuesday as planned because he needs more time to complete the selection process.
* Lawton told council he will soon present information about a citizen who wants to offer a cash reward for information about recent thefts at county-owned Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township.
* Kingston resident Brian Shiner, who attends all county council meetings, brought his own special-order portable table to last week’s council meeting so he has a spot for his computer, audio recorder and paperwork. Shiner said the purchase was necessary because the revamped council meeting room does not have tables for citizens that were available at the emergency management building.
Shiner also pointed out the need to refine paperwork distributed to new employees, saying some of the policies posted on the county’s website still contain the names of former county workers and officials, including two who were linked to the federal corruption probe.
Shiner also presented council with a sign for display at meetings, purchased by his elderly father, informing the public that council meetings are broadcast on Service Electric Cable’s Channel 19. The sign thanks the station and Scott Cannon, of Video Innovations, who also posts live and past broadcasts on his website at no cost to taxpayers.
* Lawton has posted a report on personnel actions that occurred in February on the manager’s section of the county website, www.luzernecounty.org.
The following employees were hired during the month: Robyn Struckus, Amy Trently and Melissa A. Wildrick, children and youth caseworkers, $31,764; Jennifer Rebovich and Heidi Hoedl-Knorr, magistrate secretaries, $24,202; Katherine R. Rosado, aging care manager, $30,108; Amanda DiPaola, district attorney clerk typist, $21,000; James W. Barr, assistant public defender, $40,000; and Annamarie Selecky, court judicial assistant, $30,000.
Five employees retired: Edward Doreskewicz, Eugene Shinal, Susan Strait and Richard Kirschner — all from the prison — and domestic relations employee John Sieminski.