Sunday, January 31, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1084, Jan. 31st, 2010



Luzerne County Controller Walter Griffith said he’s not going to authorize any more extra pay for sheriff deputies to serve legal documents for civil court and mortgage foreclosures, so it will be up to the sheriff’s office and county officials to figure out an alternative. If you needed more evidence that things are so wrong in Luzerne County, you only had to hear the latest revelation dug up by the new Controller Walter Griffith. Griffith discovered that seven employees had been paid an additional $190,700 last year as compensation for using their own vehicles to serve the documents, often on county time. He said the employees should be using county sheriff vehicles to serve the documents and be scheduled to work some evening shifts to serve documents on people who aren’t around during regular work hours so little or no overtime is incurred.
The most disturbing part of this is that there were some workers earning more than their current salaries to serve documents. They earned the extra money on county time. That seems to me a double dip. My God who wouldn’t want to earn some extra cash while they were on the clock for their regular job!! And of course there’s the people who got this perk. Was it me? Was it that cousin of yours that has been out of work for two years? Was it that widow on your block trying to get her kids through college? Was it that 60 year old friend who just needs two more years to make it to the finish line for social security? Nope, it was the courthouse employees themselves in that department already earning a living on your tax payer dollars. This week the Commissioners took a first step in fixing this thing. A tax increase with no borrowing is a courageous step. I don’t mind paying taxes for essential services. And to pay a tax increase with the promise that the finances will come under control is something I don’t have a problem with. But the wide scale scamming and skimming off the top is something even Tony Soprano and his crew would be envious of. Raising taxes is part one. Part two is completing overhauling the Courthouse.
Folks, I have friends who tell me there are good, hard working underpaid employees under the dome. And that when I call for the place to be shut down that will hurt them. Maybe. But in life and any situation when something goes terribly wrong for so long, there is always collateral damage.
Again, given all of the abuses found in the Courthouse in almost every single department, I renew my call to freeze business for 30 to 60 days. Vacate every position there. Put everyone on unemployment compensation. Have everyone re-apply for their positions. This has got to stop.


Joe Valenti of Piitston Politics. Com found this video on YOU Tube. Have to share it with you. Here's a link to Joe's site.


At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn Right, Sir! It must stop and I believe you have the start in your plan. This is endless.

At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Vandelay said...

I guess County Solicitor Vito DeLucca is also "double-dipping". But no one seems to talk about that since he is Petrilla's errand boy.

At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been telling everybody about the Sheriffs for years... now reality is coming out.

I had 2 personal issues with the Sheriffs Office in the past...

1) I was assaulted in the 90's. The assailant was ordered by a Judge to pay restitution. A woman working for the Sheriffs Office confronted me and told me she had a check for me (before a case that I attended for the personal that assaulted me). At the end of the hearing, she disappeared... I contacted the head office that oversees the Sheriffs.. they did an investigations. Me and another person witnessed this woman say this. the conclusion was that she nevewr said this, etc..etc.. Months later, the head of that dept was fired on corruption (in the 90's). I never did receive that particular check.

2) A crazy "sister in law" took me for a PFA order in 2005 because I wouldnt loan her any more money and demanded the money she owed to me back. Well, the luz Cty Shreiifs office went to my neighbors house who I dont care for and allowd them to sift through the paperwork. They were supposedly looking for me but couldnt find me. They NEVER knocked on my door to serve the papers even though the address was on them. After they showed the neighbors confidential info, the drove away and then called me on their cell phone and had me meet them about a 1/4 mile away to give me the apers! imagine that! I called and complained to the head of the Sheriffs dept and he said he would take care of it. i should have sued their asses off... seriously. You dont show an allegation of a crime to the neighbors. I was found not guilty bu the judge and no PFA was issued but now my reputaion was scared.

A big F U to the Sheriffs dept. You will never be trusted by me again. I wont even acknolwedge any of you if you walk by me.. Ipretend you dont exist. Corrupt.. thats all I can say.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

get rid of all of them. a few months back when you were on TV saying that i thought you were pretty harsh but this drip, drip, drip is just too much. lay them all off, have them re-apply with new jovb descriptions.

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

De Luca says he's a part-timer. If he's not, his $50k salary isn't likely to attract anyone of real capability.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Andy T. said...

Well what about Dan Pilletts? $70K a year plus benefits to be a senior law clerk. Yet twice a day he is at the prothonotary's office looking to act as a arbitrator at $125 a pop. He is raking in an additional $750 to $1250 a week on county time.

At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have refrained from commenting on the cost of serving papers by the sheriff's office. For one thing, there seems to be a great deal of confusion about what the "bonus" money was actually used for. In one article, it said the money was used to pay lease pmts for vehicles. Another article said the deputy was paying the expenses such as gas out of her own pocket. Another article said that there are not enough vehicles and the sheriff asked for additional and was turned down. I learned a long time ago to not have knee jerk reactions to such things, especially when it all hedges on the reporter who wrote the story.

Griffith has been making decisions which fall under the authority of department heads and the commissioners. He is not king even if he thinks he is. A good example is him saying the sheriff's dept. does not need taisers. How the hell does he know? Based on what? When did that become his responsibility to determine? They made a joke out of the possibility of a bullet bouncing off of the marble in the hallowed halls but that is a real possibility. Looking for headlines should not be the priority and not the solution to all of these problems. Before running to the press, the first thing I would have done if I were Griffith is to determine the actual facts. How many vehicles are there and what are they used for during the day? What would be the average number of attempts before papers are served? How many hours outside of the normal hours are spent on this effort. Is it worth changing shifts, would there be enough actual work to justify a permanent evening shift? It was said that using an unmarked vehicle and street cloths to surprise a subject is often the best method used. Are there ANY cost analysis done before wholesale changes are made? Was there a study done on possible options? What's done in other counties and at what cost?

OK so now lets shut down the court house for 60 or 90 days ... it would take at least 90 days to advertise, interview and select new employees. Who is going to train them since everybody was let go? What is the criteria to be hired and who will do the interviews (everyone was fired)? Take a clerk for example. She is a high school graduate, the junior person in that Department and by all accounts, is considered to be the best employee in the unit. Her job performance outshines all others. The newest employees seem to be the hardest workers striving to please and prove worthy of the job opportunity.
part 1

At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

part 2
OK so now we have the court house closed and people want to get married ... sorry, no marriage licenses are being processed .... we don't care that you have a deposit on a hall, a band hired and invitations sent ... no wedding till we get a staff. You had a death in the family and want the will probated and bills paid? Sorry, put the body in cold storage and tell the creditors to hold on for a few months till we get a staff. What's that you say? The gas is being shut off, the water and electric arre being shut off, the pipes are beginning to freeze, not to worry, you can sue the county for damages after we get a staff hired. I know your house is sold or you bought a house, we will get the title search done on the property just as soon as we hire a staff. What the hell do you mean the prison guards refuse to work without pay? We will pay them as soon as we get a staff hired. Holy shit, you mean to tell me the DA had to free all those criminals because she could not get to trial within the 120 day rule? Oh well, not to worry because they are criminals, they will commit additional crimes as soon as they hit the street and we can arrest them again on new charges.

So three months have passed, we have all new and better qualified personnel but now who trains them? OK, we got rid of that junior clerk because she only had a high school diploma and we hired a replacement who has a college degree ... so what if the replacement has no clue what to do, we cleaned house and have all new people who are not political hacks or cronies. What a good thing we did!

Damn it all to hell, why didn't someone tell me that there are unions involved who have the right to strike and have the right to binding arbitration. So now you tell me we have to hire all those people back or face mountains of legal actions from the unions? You mean to tell me that unfair labor charges were filed? Damn it, looks like we screwed up!

Over reaction is often times worse than no action. Sometimes it is necessary to stop and think. In the case at hand, Griffith could be 100% correct but he does not know that and neither do I. Griffith knows no more about what he is saying than you or I. Griffith did not receive a referendum to stop government or turn departments upside down. For God's sake, only 15% of eligible voters put Griffith in office because 65% didn't care enough to even vote. The judges replaced a county commissioner and didn't care enough to even interview people who had real experience. All everyone wants to do is satisfy Corbett and the press. Will somebody please shot me?

Sad Sally

At 9:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter is on the path to sefl-righteous self-destruction. It will be fun to watch.

At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have to say, your idea for the courthouse is a hard ass approach, but I think that would be the only way to semi-straighten out this whole mess. Only thing who would do the rehiring? We'd probably be back to square one with politics for job getting. Good idea on paper, but I would bet this county would find a way to corrupt and taint, even the most squeaky clean way of cleaning up that

At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off the subject ... Ron Emanual is an *******

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think you meant Rahm Emanuel and actually he is of Jewish descent.

At 11:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I made the comment about DeLuca and agree with the commenter, who seemed to be asking me, on Pillets. Double-dipping is not the same as being a part-timer.

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the beat goes on, who cares, who listens and who learnes from the past?

Hey Sad Sally, you're wasting your time. Go back to bed, I'll wake you when its over.

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