The LuLac Edition #1052, Dec. 26th, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: OUR INTERVIEW LOGO.
The recent appointment of Tom Cooney as Luzerne County Commissioner provoked a lot of conversation around the holiday festival dinner tables. I had the opportunity to speak with a former county employee now in private industry who knew Tom Cooney.
Q: Were you surprised when they picked Cooney?
A: Oh yeah big time, he was way under the radar. I didn’t even know he applied.
Q: What are your thoughts on the guy, is he as connected as they say?
A: He’s always been interested in government reform. He served on the first study commission in ’74 and has always had a concern about it. I am surprised that he’s doing it now at his age.
Q: Do you think he has alternative motives or has had enough of business, wants a new challenge?
A: From what I understand his consulting group and he in particular does well. I think there was a death of a partner a few years back and he had to step up his duties there. Now I understand he’s winding down there. I don’t think this is something that is going to necessarily improve his life ya know? If it were me, I’d use my retirement and the last thing I would do is be a Luzerne County Commissioner.
Q: Tom Cooney’s weakness?
A: The perception, and this goes for anyone picked including Tom that the fix is in or that he wants something out of it. Also the clients on his company’s website show a great deal of connections with the county. But I don’t see that as a negative. Q: Why not?
A: Because he can’t be fooled or buffaloed with government legalese and double talk. He is familiar with how government works and has done something with his company that government can’t do around here.
Q: And that is?
A: Uh, make a profit. Show a plus on the balance sheet.
Q: When’s the last time you heard from him?
A: Oh about 6 years ago but I’ve kept up to date on his doings.
Q: His greatest strength?
A: Knows the intricacies of government and understands it. Hell of a grant writer too.
Q: Are you happy with the pick?
A: Happy for the county because I think they got a good guy who will analyze for the future and not the present. Bad for him because it is going to be a job where he is guaranteed to please no one. I wouldn’t want it.