Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2200, September 18th, 2012

The Luzerne County Courthouse 


We’ve written here many times about the Luzerne County worker. There is no doubt some have sweet jobs with big salaries they usually don’t earn. But for the most part, most of the Luzerne County employees earn their money and do their job. But because of the mess this County is in financially there will be job cuts. Because the workers are County employees, even the smallest incident will usually lead to a bad perception. Those small perceptions become reality. For example if an office is not staffed intelligently or closes during lunch time, that’s a pretty bad indictment on all workers. Personally, I think the county rank and file workers have the intelligence and common sense to police themselves and make sure they are not lumped into the bad apples. But my sources are telling me that the Union Leadership is not serving any of the County workers well. As an example, County unions were contacted and asked for input. The Court professional union has agreed in principal to some give backs. Example, no pay raise for next year, give up one paid holiday, clothing allowance and no sell back of unused vacation .....a use it or lose it type situation. But, AFSCME’s Union Representative is more concerned about getting on TV instead of taking care of her membership. Other than that, according to people I’ve spoken to, she has done nothing to speak of. AFSCME members in the various departments have not had real meetings to discuss compromises and members are upset that union leadership is not taking the opportunity to work with management in an effort to save jobs. There is a rumor of de-certification because the union leadership does not seem to care, especially since union officers have super seniority and will be the lasts ones to go. That presents a problem within the court system because there is no such thing as seniority and the State Supreme Court has set it to writing that although Commissioners have the right to negotiate salary and benefits, they have no authority to take the operational authority away from the courts. All court employees are "at will" employees. They work according to the needs of the court. The state constitution is clear that the Courts run the Courts period. This will prove interesting as the AFSCME leadership continues down the road of "who cares". Clearly county workers are concerned. IT would be ironic that the people who are put in leadership roles to protect the rank and file are lighting a flame under certain individuals in the county who would only be too happy to start a move to decertify the union. Bob Lawton is the guy that can do this. He can get allies because I sense his patience is being tested by what he sees in County offices. It is no accident that Carolee Medico Olenginski was fired. Lawton gave her a warning. And now she’s gone. Plus he knew there had to be a lawsuit coming because Carolee is nothing if not litigious. I’m not saying Lawton or any Council member is going to go the “decertify” route, but the Union heads aren’t giving him any reason to believe that they are on the side of the County, or even their own workers who want input. Lawton is a dangerous man to play with. By the time his tenure here is over, he might have gained the nickname “One and done”. (One warning and then you get Caroleed). And the people who will pay will be the County Rank and File making under 30 grand while the head honchos will stay.

County Council member Rick Morelli.


County Council member Rick Morelli recently sent an e mail regarding the Tax Collector issue. Here it is: 
Dear Luzerne County Tax Collector, As you maybe aware, the issue of whether to continue to use the Luzerne County Tax Collectors in the future to collect the county taxes has come up for debate. Certain members of Luzerne County Council have recently brought forth this issue as to whether to keep the Luzerne County Tax Collectors collecting the county taxes or to obtain an outside firm to collect the county taxes. On August 28th we on Luzerne County Council were given a brief overview by Jackson Twp Tax Collector Jackie Latosick and her husband. It was agreed upon at that meeting that both county council and the tax collectors need to have a separate meeting to discuss the issue in more length. At our council meeting on September 11th in Hazleton, Pa. I publicly asked when this meeting with the tax collectors would take place. It was stated by some council members that no meeting was now necessary and that the county should proceed with putting out RFP's in order to find a firm to collect the taxes. I publicly made a motion to set a meeting up with you the tax collectors so that you could have a voice on this matter along with working with us on council to help find ways to save the taxpayers money. The motion I made died with NO other council member even seconding it for a vote. I feel that this issue is a very important issue and the only way for us on council to come up with a right decision is to make sure that we have all the facts. I do believe that we need to hear your side of the story and find out more from you as to what we can do to save county tax dollars. I am open to all options at this point and have not made any decisions regarding this matter. I am however very much in favor of having you the tax collectors come before council at a special meeting to discuss your role and how we together can find ways to save more money along with collecting more taxes. If you agree that your voices need to be heard on this matter then I urge you to contact the other members of council and demand a public special meeting with us to discuss this matter in more detail. I appreciate your time and hope that we can work together in finding ways to help save the county tax dollars. 
Rick Morelli 
Luzerne County Council Member


At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go Rick---the only one with any sense of the Council of Clowns!!!

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonki, good points. I'm glad you are seeing all sides now when it comes to County employees. Nice job.

At 3:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your efforts to get at the truth about county workers. They deserve more than this. I think weneed to keep in mind that Mr. Lawton has recognized that additional layoffs will hurt the performance of county services. The problem is the debt ad not county employees. The problem is we have a Council who are so busy playing politics with this non political County Charter that it makes me sick. Look at this tax collector issue, did this Council miss the fact that a private tax collector has not turned over collected taxes to our municipalities? Moving to a private collector sure as hell didn't work on with the earned income tax. Of course, the state had a hand in that and every time the state gets involved, it hurts local communities. Morelli is right and the other 10 Council members are dead wrong. There will be an election and not one of those now in office and due for reelection deserve second term. Your post on the meeting is a great example. It was understood that the only Council member who would meet with the county manager was the Coucnil Chair. Lawwton does not have time to cater to these wannabe saviors. They don't even follow their own rules.

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Professor Milburn Cleaver, OPA said...

Good morning Students,

I must tell you (and I hope that your feelings are not hurt----you may laugh) that when I prepare for this class I always have knots of disgust in my stomach. To me, many of you are disrespectful, uninformed, lacking of religious conviction and downright spoiled by your irresponsible parents and your flower child grandparents. But this morning is different. I come here in a very jovial mood. For I am witnessing in the national media one of the greatest miscalculations in the history of modern politics. I refer of course to the supposed political disaster of Pres. Elect Romney’s 47% remarks.

To hear the liberal pundits on this one is to assume that Mr. Romney should all but pack his bags and head on home to Michigan. Even some conservative (I refer to them as conservative/lite—again you may laugh) pundits and politicians are running scared. You may ask why I find all of this amusing. The answer is very simple and very practical. These groups I have just mentioned live inside the “bubble” of Washington politics and have no idea how the working man thinks on the important issues of our day. I provide you with one case in point:

Radio host Michael Smerconish noted that many middle class people called into his program proclaiming Romney to be correct in his statements. They view the 47% as the slackers who are living off the government and not paying their income taxes. In other words, far from destroying his candidacy via an old video yesterday, the Governor sealed his election!!!!!!! All thanks to the working man/woman who do not wish to have everything handed to them; who believe in a dollars pay for a dollars work; who go to church on Sunday; and most important, who understand that they, if the work hard enough can hit the financial plateau and enjoy the fruits of a good wealthy life. Do you honestly believe that if they reach that goal they are going to wish to be unfairly robbed of their earnings by the government via higher taxes??? The answer is a resounding NO.

Again, I declare that Willard Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States. And Milburn Cleaver will be a retired professor. Thank God in Heaven.

Something to think about this morning……

Class Dismissed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the sun rises this morning I take pause to wonder if Mitt Romney
has shot himself in the foot enough times now for people to realize what a dangerous character
he would most certainly be in the White House. As the election cycle began so long ago, disatisfied with the way things were headed in the Good Old USA, I gave serious consideration to Romney as an alternative candidate.
Now he just scares the hell out of me. His loose cannon approach and total lack of foreign policy knowledge would assure big trouble,
even worse than today. I can only imagine the next war and where it might be and the disconnect with the less than wealthy American, the average Joe that would follow. No Mr Romney, I can no longer consider you for the job. You did yourself in and I cant allow you to do our country in as I have come to believe you surely would! I am not a Democrat or a fan of President Obama, but in spite of mistakes he impresses me as an intelligent man. You, Sir are in your own little priviledged world and I guess always have been. You have clearly proven yourself clueless to me and I truly wanted to support you. Not now, No way!

A One Time Republican

At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, but if the union is de-certified then seniority is not an issue as all employees become at will.

At 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One time, you are soo full of shit

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to die a slow death, attend a Luzerne County Council meeting---there you will meet "The saviors", as 3:19 so correctly named them---the magnimous Council of 11 and the trail of their Home Rule groupies who attend EACH AND EVERY meeting giving all their sage and stupendous advice!!! Then to top it off, these same Councilmen and their cheerleaders, KIKI Heffron, Giamber, Thurman Gaump (yep, really a name), Dombrowski and a host of others are in with Lawton or calling him to offer "official comments". I give Lawton credit for not throwing them all out...but then again, not having an elected Manager, but an appointed one like himself, Lawton has to cater to their every whim. GREAT JOB HAGGERTY destroying our County Government. And shame on the voters for putting in union leaders like Houck, choir directors like Kelleher, pie-in-the-sky do gooders like Haas, smartasses like Bobeck and Curry and the rest of the stooges who drag on meetings for 5 hours at a clip. McGinley get some life in you---you will have us all asleep; at least Bobeck with his smart aleck remarks added a few zings to wake us up!
Citizen Advocate

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Perfesser,
Stuff it! Just go away into your fantasy retirement, please. You are as previously posted a pompous ass! Whatever your real station in life, whether male or female or possibly something in between, please peddle your papers elsewhere. Your uselessness amazes me. Your act wears thin fast and I can only hope you are on borrowed time. Retire to Boca Raton in your dreams.

At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Timely post by 7:03 on the heels of
6:19. You guys get up early in the morning. I would throw in with 7:03
on this one, but then I think the Prof is an embarrassment to the Cleaver Family. Poor Ward and June.
Fortunately Wally and the Beaver turned out well.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The private tax collectors asked each candidate for council whether or not they'd vote to keep them or dump them. Morelli is paying back a political debt for their backing.

At 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Professor, you are a sad man. I should mention delusional but sad is good enough.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


How do I know you are correct? I not only live among those who cheer Romney's honesty, I have become one!
Every day that goes by strenghtens my resolve to vote for Mitt. I become more and more aware of the taxes, policies, and regulations that insidiously rob me of choice. It is now a life being lived in a "slow boil".

At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, gotta tell you that I'm attending blogfest. I checked out the other political blogs. And none of them, I repeat none of them are burning up the charts like you are. Good job. Can't wait to meet ya!!!

At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back aaaaat ya!
But how could you have seen thru me so easily? Of course I am a Socialist/Communist Obama supporter all along.
One Time

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

5:43, Make no mistake, your glee will turn to bitter sorrow if Romney should pull this off. Obviously you're a longw ay from retirement or you would be much more concerned for your old age retirement benefits you earned. When Social Security and Medicare are reduced to nothing, there will be blood in the streets. I don't say that lightly, companies no longer offer pensions and retirement funds are as week as tea. Many like me count heavy on our Social Security and Medicare. Be careful what you wish for.

At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You count heavily on Social Security and Medicare, because you didn't plan for your retirement and later years. It is not up to me and those of us working to take care of you. If there should be,and I'm not saying that there should, blood in the streets it should be those of us working now who have to take part of our earnings, food from the mouths of our children and support the old and infirmed. That role used to be one of the family, but politicians decided to make it government entitlements. Not out of kindness, but out of a desire to attain and then maintain political control by creating a class of people dependent upon the government. Obviously they have succeeded.


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