To the citizens of Luzerne County:
First, and most sincerely, I wish to convey my appreciation for all my supporters and those who voted for me to serve on the Luzerne County Council.
I have fond memories from knocking on doors throughout Luzerne County. I listened to the citizens and their concerns.
I made a promise to insist on county government employees to co-pay more for their healthcare costs. I made a promise to oppose tax increases . I spoke for the citizens, listened, responded to and represented those who took time to contact me and the county council as a whole.
My efforts to keep my promise to the voters were not supported by the council majority.
I also promised for more accountability and transparency.
Improvements are needed in Luzerne County Home Rule Government.
Recently, we were informed of a binding arbitration contract.
My personal opinion is the county manager should bring this information sooner to council. Reading about county information in the newspaper is mostly how council is informed about county business.
Information is not given unless your question is worded in a certain manner. Some information is found by accident.
Under Home Rule, overspending by the manager should not have occurred. It is a big disappointment to know the controller did nothing to stop the overspending of $16.9 million by the manager.
I have several other concerns about the persistent persuasion tactics of the manager teamed with the solicitor to manipulate council discussions and decisions.
The recent rationale to stop the implementation of a Home Rule Study Commission on the basis that it is a lame duck council was ridiculous. There are a majority of members of this current council who will serve on council in 2018. Cronyism and nepotism in Luzerne County government is obviously present.
Salary increases and benefits need to be seriously considered as the taxpayers cannot afford the direction management has taken. Management must work harder for healthcare co-pays and lessen the burden on the taxpayers.
Mental health services and preventive measures require an intense review to stop the tragedies we experienced this past year within the Corrections Division.
In this closing, I believe Luzerne County Home Rule does require certain changes:
• Smaller county council elected by district.
• County manager and sheriff should be elected.
• All elected officials limited to two terms for all elected officials, including and the county manager.
• The controller should sign off on outgoing checks.
We still require an improved system of check and balances. I support the voters’ right to ask for these changes. If you, the voters feel the same, support Mr. Walter Griffith’s efforts and volunteer to collect signatures.
Contact him and offer your assistance at [email protected]
Wishing you all the best I say farewell as your elected official.