Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The LuLac Edition #1322, Oct. 6th, 2010




Home Rule in Luzerne County is a big issue. I'm leaning toward it. Wil Toole, former Pittston City official and candidate for Controller in 2009 as an Independent has some thoughts. We welcome all opinions pro and con on Home Rule.
It would be nice to see some unbiased reporting on such an important subject. The Charter No group met on Tuesday of this week and in the newspaper's coverage of the story, the very first line of the article written was a back handed shot at the group. He wrote, "County officials who attended meeting stand to be affected should voters OK charter on Nov. 2." Why not just tell the story and allow the readers to determine the motives of those in attendance? That one line set the tone for the reader’s interpretation of the story. There are comments being made that refer to the Home Rule as another school board and that's not correct. The only difference is that school board's hire and in the charter, the manger who owes his job to the Board majority does the hiring. No chance of politics in that is there? No return favors and licking up to the board to protect his own job is possible, is it? School boards do approve contracts but the county board does not in the Home Rule charter. The mini king, I mean the county manager has tremendous power. He can spend tax dollars, he can move money between departments on his own authority and he can hire and fire. All of this and no accountability to the voters. And remember, the county manager has a contract just as the superintendent of schools has. Lackawanna county operates under Home Rule and they have their share of corruption. Why? Because most voters don't vote. Because most voters do not attend public meetings. Because people tend to vote for name recognition, sound bites and slogans and seldom for qualifications and experience. It isn't the form of government that is bad, it is the people we elect. Lack of active interest by the voters invites poor management. It took three years for the states to ratify the Constitution so do we need to change our form of government simply because we can? We have a very simple and easy to understand method of governing, one minority commissioner watches over the actions of the two majority commissioners. If a simple form of government such as that is struggling, just imagine what it will be like with eleven in charge and no required minority. Right now we can dump one incompetent elected official through the electoral process and make a difference. How do we change the majority of the proposed county board? Electing one or two will have NO effect, we would have to elect a minimum of six (6) board members to create change in county government. IF that sounds like a good idea then I have to assume you have never attended a school board meeting and watch the antics that go on there.
I've said it before and I will continue to say it, "If you like your school board, you will love Home Rule!" By the way, we can never again be upset with a board member who lands a job for family or friends because they just shrug and say, "I don't have a vote on hiring" thus no nepotism. Wonderful!

Wil Toole is a former Pittston City official, a frequent letter writer to the newspapers as well as a citizen activist. Unfortunately his ideas and activities are rarely covered by the local media.


At 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people will vote for Home Rule and assume that a new form of government will solve all the problems the county has had.
The truth is it's the people in office,elected or appointed, and not the form of government that
create or avoid the problems!
Rather than a drastic change I believe Luzerne County would be better served with a simple Recall provision with which ciizens could eliminate any office holder who violates the public trust.
At least we would still have a chance to vote for individuals
seeking to serve us.
Those who believe the Manager form of government is a better alternative should remember what happened when the city of Wilkes-Barre actually tried that system years ago. It didn't last long because it didn't work as advertised and was just as open to problems as the system it replaced.
Trouble is,voters are looking for an easy answer and are being told that a complete change in government offers that answer.
History tells us it does not!

At 12:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've gotta agree with Wil on this one. This home rule is putting together a form of government that is ripe to be abused right from the get-go.

Wil basically had the same structure as an appointed day-to-day manager with a lot of power when he was the City Clerk/Administrator in Pittston in the 90's....and most people in the area know how well that went.

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was going to vote no, but if Will Toole is against it I may have to rethink.

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You simple fool. Why is it so necessary to atack Wil Toole at every opp0ortunity? Are you that jealous or obsessed with him? He did run the city and I was a city resident raising a family when he was the administrator and guess what, taxes were a fraction of what they are now and services were outstanding. Call city hall day or night and there was a real person there to answer the phone and whatever I needed at the time was taken care of. Since Toole left, you can't even get a call back. Yes, I know how Toole being in charge went and I loved it and now I miss him. He should be back there getting this hell hole straightened out. Twelve years of Lombardos is more than enough. Why don' they just get the hell out of city government? Can they make it any worse than they already have? I hope not. JB


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