Sunday, June 26, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1657, June 26th, 2011



Moving swiftly to replace convicted Commissioner A.J. Munchak, the Lackawabnna County GOP accepted more than 25 applications and conducted 18 interviews Saturday. After a day of inquiries, the committee picked Jermyn Mayor Bruce Smallacombe, South Abington Township Auditor and current commissioner candidate Bill Jones, and Scranton businessman Steven Scarpetta. Pat O’Malley the GOP team mate of Bill Jones did not submit his name. The Lackawanna County Court en banc will pick one of the three men. Jones if chosen would be given a tremendous leg up as an incumbent Commissioner perhaps overshadowing O’Malley in the General Election. O’Malley a former Democrat was the top GOP vote getter. Scarpetta brings youthful enthusiasm to the job. But if I were a betting man, I think the court will appoint Smallacombe who ran for the seat in the ’11 primary. That way the political aspects of a Jones pick would be diminished. But hey who said judges are political?


The Lackawanna County Home Rule Charter states, “The executive committee of the political party of the person elected to the office in question shall submit a list of three persons to the judges of the court and bank within five days of the vacancy. The court shall appoint one of the three persons recommended to temporarily fill the vacancy.”


This week former Kingston resident and Denver Colorado professor Jim Gibson was interviewed by the Citizens Voice regarding his intention to apply for the County Manager’s position. Gibson said that openness and transparency are paramount in this new formation of a government. Apparently Transition Committee member and candidate for County Council Rick Morelli has been saying the same thing all along. Here’s a letter he wrote to the local papers:
Dear Editor,
As Luzerne County begins a new future with Home Rule, an important goal of this new government needs to be building and restoring trust with the citizens of this county which has been lost for some time. A great start to building that trust should begin with releasing the names of the applicants to the public regarding the appointment of the new county manager.
I believe by releasing ALL the names of these applicants it will provide full transparency to the public and hopefully prevent any political friends being hired into this top county post. The benefit of releasing ALL the names and not just the finalist’s names is to prevent any highly qualified candidate from being unnoticed so that some political friend can pass up the truly most qualified person for this county manager position. I personally do not believe that politics is dead yet in Luzerne County.
I do understand the argument of why names should not be released. Some say that it will prevent highly qualified candidates from applying to this position and it can put their current jobs at risk. This argument is a valid argument and I respect it but there is also no way that we can prove that will happen either. I believe that this important position of such that will pay over $100,000 in annual salary will still attract many qualified candidates even if they know their names will be made known to the public. The responsibility of county council is to look out for the citizens of Luzerne County not for the jobs of applicants.
I realize that there are people who will have different opinions on this issue which I truly respect. For those who disagree with my stance on this position, please understand that my reasoning for this is solely driven to prevent any person who is highly qualified for this extremely important position to be passed up for some not so qualified political friend. As a member of the Government Study Commission who helped write this Home Rule Charter, I understand the importance of this county manager position and realize that if we do not hire the most qualified person for this position at the start of this new government that the future success of Luzerne County will take that much longer to achieve.
The key of this new Home Rule government is accountability and in order for the public to hold county council accountable, the public needs to be able to see everything, which includes the names of applicants for the county manager position.
Rick Morelli
Home Rule Transition Committee Member
Luzerne County Council Candidate


At 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be wrong to appoint Jones. The same as appointing him to a full term. The man should have simply stayed out of it. This shows he is not the man for the job
as far as I am concerned. Kind of the action I would expect from Bob Cordaro or Corey OBrien. He will probably get the appointment. Tough times, whats new, for the few of us Republicans in the Lack!

Waverly Bob

At 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent letter Morelli, just excellent. I truly hope the other members can see past their own noses and corner of the world as you do. Otherwise, Home Rule is a very scary proposition.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To appoint anyone running for the office would be foolish and a foul against common sense and fairness. If the Republicans want to get a fresh start Bill Jones would be a mistake. I have nothing against Bill Jones and know no more about him than the other candidates. The action would smack of "business as usual in Lackawanna County" and thats the last thing we need.

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:01 Excellent letter -- NOT! Now he wants proof that if caution were not taken a person might lose their current position? Stupid, just plain stupid and it shows that Morelli cannot think past his own nose. If the manager candidate's name/address was didacted from the application, the applicant's credentials would still be very visible to the committee as well as the public. There is absolutely no reason to publish the names. Make the applications with didacted names available for examination but protect the integrity of the interviewing process by not allowing the committee to see the actual names. Let one person assign an applicant ID number to each didacted application and we will have a truly unbiased selection. NO NAMES is the only way to go. We the taxpayers deserve the best and the interview procedure should be made public prior to the actually interviews so that the best process will be used and the candidates will provide the most important information possible for the committee to make an intelligent non political appointment. Publishing the names is nothing more than a knee jerk reaction that could very well prevent some candidates from applying. Shame on those who promote publishing the names when didacted applications will better serve our needs.

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Waverly Bob may be the last Republican citizen in the Lac who will admit it! Hang in there, Waverly. Anyone living there cant be doing too bad.
Home Rule scares the hell out of me in the Lu. Were launched now and only time will tell.


At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:38, If you need time to tell then there is no hope for you either. I don't need time, I read the Charter and it is unworkable or to put it a better way, it is unmanageable. The county manger rules, simple as that! This group of sillies can't even stand up to the pressure of publicizing names of applicants even though the names don't mean squat. The only thing making the names public does is curtail the number of applicants received and that's something we will never know for sure. Only common sense can tell us it is a bad idea. The people asking for the names have probably never attended a public meeting and may not even have voted but they know how to make noise. I was going to vote for Morelli as one of the 8 or 9 I'm looking at but his letter drops him off my list. I want people with balls, not a bunch of Me Too's waving their hands. I lauded during the campaign when Morelli was tagged NORELI but I'm not laughing now. I now carry the sign NORELLI in November.

At 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Morelli is a heck of a guy. I also think he'd be very fair in interviewing all the interested candidates, announced and otherwise.

At 10:02 PM, Blogger PoorRichard said...

Morelli may be the nicest guy in the world but who cares? This isn't about nice or fair, it is about being capable of leading and making decisions that are not made according to outside pressures.. Morelli is proving that as nice as he is, he is just as incompetent to make big government decisions. NO Morelli for me. But then again, do we want the Urbans? OMG!

At 10:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mister we could use a guy like Jimmy Gibson again!!!!!!!

At 4:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10.53 Jimmy Gibson AGAIN? Jimmy me boy, you speak well of yourself.

At 7:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to Chris Kelly for his excellent article in the Times re the Cordaro/Munchak Story. He hits this one out of the ballpark. Rare to see such good writing in the Scranton Rag.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morelli publically admitted at the last meeting that he doesn't read his emails!
That's nice, except for he's chairingg (well, trying anyways) the personnel recruting subcommittee, and the other transition members can't even get certain info from him.
All this is hilarious because when he was hazleton school board president, he never made anything public regarding teacher hirings! now he wants to ride what he considers the "popular wave".

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great Letter!

Mr. Morelli is obviously looking out for the people and not one of his friends.

I would question and candidate who is opposed to this process and wonder what there personal agenda really is.

At 12:06 PM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Students, let it be known here and now that the home rule charter is a farce.
The voters of Luzerne County have really outdone themselves with displaying their lack of intelligence by voting for this monstrocity. Then again, in an area where more and more peoples idea of fun and leisure is watching race cars go around a track for three or four hours every Sunday, why should we be surprised?
There is no question that there have been problems with County Commisioners and row officers over the past few years, but isn't the problem with the individuals and NOT the form of government???
Following the Watergate scandal way back when, did we as a nation re-write our Constitution?? Of course not; because the problem was not the Constitution but the lack therof of its enforcement.
Sometimes a spoiled little child will whine and whine until Mommy lets him eat the entire bag of candy. Later, he will whine and cry because the candy made him sick. ANd then Mommy wonders why. This students, is Luzerne County's voters.
The stomach ache and vomiting will commence soon....and there will be no cure.
Greed and Gluttony are not virtues.....
Have I made my point, youngsters????
Class Dismissed!!!!!!

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



"The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." – MAYA ANGELOU

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm wondering if we can have a foreigner become the County Manager. I think Georgie Fame would be a very good choice.

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job Rick!! You were the only one on the study comiassion with any sense.

I'm happy to see individuals lime you being leaders.

Keep it up! Obviously some of your competition is jealous.

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey 4:45AM.......
Mister we can use a man like 445AM again, didn't have no welfare state, everybody pulled his weight, gee our old LaSalle ran great....................


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