PHOTO INDEX: LULAC EDITOR AND CANDIDATES FOR LUZERNE COUNTY CONTROLLER BOB MORGAN, WALTER GRIFFITH AND WIL TOOLE. BLOG EDITOR TALKING POLITICAL GOSPEL PIE WITH ACTIVIST AND ATTENDEE CHARLIE HUTCHKO, AND A PARTIAL SHOT OF THE CROWD.
We held our Controller’s Forum tonight at Bentley’s and quite frankly I’m pleased with the outcome. Prior to the event I was accused of favoring not one but all of the three candidates in some way shape or form. I have been editing posts on all three candidates because they didn’t have anything to do with the future of this office or the county. I succeeded in torquing just about everybody off in this race and in my estimation, if everyone is mad, then I’m being objective. All of the questions from the audience were asked. Not a single one was edited or eliminated. I reserved the right prior to the debate to do this. This is a regular practice in all debates, the only difference is I told you I was going to do it before hand and others don’t. If an opinion is hurtful, old news, detrimental to a person or person’s family, that doesn’t mean there is a Constitutional right to air it. However that was not my concern, I wanted the event to move along and I did not want any audience member getting us off track. We had a decent crowd at the event and the exchange of ideas was very good.
Endorsements: All three candidates commented on their endorsements by the Times Leader. Walter Griffith who got the endorsement talked about his combativeness on the part of the taxpayers. Bob Morgan said he disagreed with him not being endorsed saying his financial background speaks for itself. Wil Toole the Independent said he was mystified by the wording and verbage used regarding his weight. The TL said he wasn’t up to the job yet he had to get over 1500 signatures to get on the ballot.
Test time: All three candidates gave correct answers when I questioned them on GASB (governmental accounting standards board) ((Morgan)), Recording an expense (Griffith) and Substantive audit tests and definitions of the three kind of testing. (Toole).
Centralizing Cash payments: Morgan and Griffith favored central locations as well as streamlining the process for collection of money. Toole disagreed with that saying the County needed a singular way to deal with multiple locations.
Inner Workings: All pledged to be a full time Controller and to either increase staff or make the office more efficient. Each candidate said that the victor needed to be vigilant so that there would not be a debit card problem again.
Audience questions: Dealt with Mr. Toole’s pension and disability, Morgan’s associations with PNC and whether that would be a conflict of interest and whether any were veterans. Mr. Toole was the only person to serve in the military.
Dust ups: Minor but Morgan took Griffith to task for not being specific on certain allegations he made in his Times Leader interview concerning the current Controller’s office. Toole started it saying Griffith claimed to be the watchdog of the county and as such should have filed a criminal complaint with the DA or the Atty General's office. Griffith said he filed a complaint with DCED and then Toole said a criminal complaint should have been filed with the proper law enforcement agency because a filing a fraudulent report on the heels of all that has happened is a very serious matter. Morgan would not let go utill Griffith said he did not have proof that it was done and only assumed it was. Griffith also questioned Morgan’s association with PNC Bank and how he (Griffith) had in his possession word from PNC that Morgan could not serve. Morgan disagreed, said he checked it out with counsel and said he had already gone over this with Griffith.
Fashion report: Dark suits, white shirts, Morgan had a striped Red rep tie, Griffith a red paisley and Toole a light navy. Morgan sported Red Cuff links. We all looked like we just graduated from The Undertakers Academy.
Aftermath: The event broke up after an hour and 45 minutes with each candidate shaking hands and exchanging stories afterwards. We’ll post the coverage from The Citizen’s Voice in a later edition. Thanks to the candidates, Mrs. LuLac, timekeeper Patrick Fadden, the attendees and of course all of my readers.
Media: WBRE TV covered the event, the Citizen's Voice Michael Buffer was on hand as well as Joe Valenti from Pittston Politics.com. Here's his report via this link: http://www.pittstonpolitics.com/