Thursday, February 16, 2012

The LuLac Edition #1948, February 16th, 2012

"In their own words".


The Luzerne County Council sent me some information regarding their thoughts on the launching of the new government. Two major accomplishments was the hiring of a permanent manager as well as passing a budget. Take a look:
To the Citizens of Luzerne County:
While we understand that many people may question our vote on the 2012 budget, we believe that this decision, made after much research and much soul-searching, is in the best interests of the County at this time.
This budget:
increases taxes by $10 on properties assessed at $100,000 (Many county properties are assessed at less than that amount, and so the additional cost to many homeowners will be less than $10);
eliminates 78 positions among County employees for 2012, realizing approximately $2 million in savings;
attacks the $25 million debt service on the $450 million total debt inherited from those who elected to govern in the past 10 years by borrowing against our County’s future;
allows the new County Manager to analyze and reorganize County operations over this year and in the future and to make surgical cuts that will right-size the government rather than hasty amputations that could endanger public safety and compromise the services offered to those who need them the most.
Those of us who were sworn in as members of County Council on January 2, 2012 were essentially “handed the bill” for a maxed-out credit card after a decade of wild living by past leadership. For those who live within their means, it is nearly incomprehensible to understand a debt that is 4 times their annual income. This compares to a family with an annual income of $30,000 and credit card debt of $120,000 that grows by over $6,000 annually.
Even as we face a new future in our County under Home Rule government, we Council members must face the questionable legacy left by those who governed before us and make decisions that may be difficult but will nevertheless help Luzerne County to get on the path to financial stability.
The members of the County Council have invested countless hours over the past few months to begin the process of restoring trust, accountability, and professionalism in Luzerne County government as we selected a new professional manager and began to implement procedures and policies with ethical foundations. Those of us who support this budget believe that it allows the County to attack the monstrous debt and to restructure our government in a responsible way.
This budget BUILDS TRUST by acknowledging that we are partners in overcoming the financial issues that face us as a result of more than a decade of borrowing to meet operating expenses. The increase in revenue is strictly dedicated to payment on the debt, and the reduction in staff of 78 positions aims to right-size the County workforce.
This budget BUILDS ACCOUNTABILITY by mandating department heads to trim budgets and reduce staff by almost 4%. When more cuts come over the next few years, they will be done in a calculated way that will maintain services, especially those that protect the most vulnerable in our midst. The charter mandates restructuring and new accountability codes that will, over time, "separate the wheat from the chaff" and result in an efficient and well-trained workforce. The current “hiring freeze” will segue into accountability for management to justify and explain changes in staff.
This budget LAYS THE FOUNDATION FOR PROFESSIONALISM by giving our new manager, Bob Lawton, the time to see what works, what needs correction, and what needs cuts. In any corporate acquisition, new leadership takes time to evaluate all operations in order to make changes, and tough decisions are made within the first year. Expect Mr. Lawton to evaluate all programs first and then consolidate services, trim fat, and make staff adjustments based on workplace efficiency.
Please understand that we share your concern for a right-sized government that operates efficiently. That concern is what led us to run for office. Although we did not create the problems that face us today as a County, we are faced with the task of making the tough decisions that help us to solve those problems. We, the undersigned, have determined that this budget is the best choice we can make at this point in time, even while we respect the differing opinions of our fellow Council members.
In embracing Home Rule, Luzerne County residents took the first step to reclaim and rebuild our government. We can, and we will, reinvent our local government by right-sizing it and making it accountable to those who pay the bills. This cannot be done in one month, in one budget, or even in one term on council, but we move in that direction starting today.
We ask your patience in the next few years as we implement professional management of County operations and restructure the government so that it works well for all of us.


Jim Bobeck
Harry Haas
Eugene Kelleher
Elaine Maddon Curry
Linda McClosky Houck
Tim McGinley


At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an old saying..when you are explaining you are losing!

At 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice spin but your not fooling anyone.

The majority of these council members who supported this tax increase are tied to unions or the courts in some way.

At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Pope George Ringo said...

This is in response to the Iran posting of yesterday.

Many people make the error that Achmajinidad (spelling is phoenetic) is the leader of Iran when in fact the Ayatollah's or Mullah's are truly in charge.

The middle east altogether (except for Israel) is a group of nationswith insane stone age laws. This includes our "friends" Saudi Arabia. Their only claim to fame is what Jed Clampett referred to as the "black coal, Texas tea" that lies under their grounds. Had it not been for this fact the entire area would be an economic wasteland.

Does anyone truly believe that the Mullahs are insane??? Does anyone believe that they are insane enough to think they could fire a nuke at Israel and not meet an immediate repraisal unlike anything the world has seen since Hiroshima? Does anyone equally believe that the President of Iran in his "waiter's" blazer has any more power than the Mullah's allow him to have/???

My point being, we can continue to throw billions into the mid east but until we can make ourselves energy solvent we shall not fail to be tied to that insane part of the world.

If anyone should undergo a preventative strike against Iran it should be Israel as they are the one under threat. Most of its military is funded by the U.S. anyway. And seriously, if they do attack, can any of this nations neighbors (?) hate her more than they already do?????

Last point, you refer to the President as the Professor in Chief. Kinda like Woodrow Wilson, who was no slouch by the way.

It really does not matter what anyones opinion of Obama, W Bush Reagan or any other President is. History will decide long after the reporter, bloggers have died.
I imagine if there were bloggers during LIncoln's time he would have been crucified just as much as the present White House occupant.
Need I say more????

Bless You.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Pope George Ringo said...
This is in response to the Iran posting of yesterday.

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Typical Luzerne County mentality displayed In the above posts. Sit back and do nothing while complaining about the people who are trying to solve the many problems that our county faces. The County Council has spent countless hours actually working on solutions that will hopefully correct issues that hamper effective government in a way that is fair to all county residents. They have been open and honest. They have made and will continue to make the tough decisions necessary to govern. Give them a chance. They need our support not criticism. They need honest feedback and an exchange of ideas from us, not complaints. In two years five County Council members or positions will be up for election. If you feel they have not done a good job at that time don't re-elect them. Until then let's hope they succeed not wish they fail!

At 1:01 PM, Blogger David Yonki said...

Until then let's hope they succeed not wish they fail!

At 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, what really kills me are the comments on the new manager's travel expenses. The guy is moving across country! He can't get a bunch of friends together and offer them a 30 pack and get here. These people who think it's a pilgrimage to go from Plymouth to the Mall and have never been out of the area are really too much.

At 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The LuLac Edition #1948, February 16th, 2012":

Why am I amazed at the attitude of the idiots of Luzerne County? These fools are going nuts over a 2% tax increase but they never say a wowrd about the school districts that are killing us with double and triple the taxes. Pittston City is at 7 mills while the county is at 5 and even their meetings are citizen absent. i don't see why any of these council people would want to run for reelection other than ego. Have you heard Brominski pontificating? He should stop talking for fear of (edited) himself. So far he has only been a pompus (edited) but if he keeps talking he will be a verified (edited) .


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