Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The LuLac Editon #4, 905, February 1st, 2023



Our “Write On Wednesday” logo.

Maybe it’s just me but I’m beginning to like Randy Robertson more and more. Robertson (the former County Manager) came down hard with THE FACTS on Council Trumpanzee Lyin’ Cryin’ Brian Thornton recently. Here’s what he had to say.


Maybe it’s Luzerne County.

I write regarding the recent story pertaining to my position as the former county manager. Specifically, I wish to address some of the statements made by councilman Brian Thornton during the meeting.

Last June several dozen citizens and about half of the County Council attended a reception for me as the new county manager on the steps of the courthouse. During my remarks, I reiterated several times to the council, the staff, the citizens and the media of the absolute need to be nonpartisan in this position. I also reinforced that concept in one-on-one meetings or conversations with every council member.

It was obvious throughout my tenure that some council members, especially Thornton, either did not understand what the term nonpartisan meant or chose to ignore my commitment to it. The political rancor regarding Luzerne County’s ideological void between Republicans and Democrats was best summed up by Thornton when several months later he told me that “there were too many D’s and not enough R’s on staff.”

I wonder if Brian and a few others on council can spell nonpartisan?

Several months ago, Sam Sanguedolce, Luzerne County’s district attorney, briefed council in an executive session about an investigation he and his team did pertaining to challenges arising in the 2020 election. Sam was briefing the council as a matter of protocol before his report was made public in the following days. With close to a dozen findings, the DA team’s summary was that there was absolutely no evidence of intentional misdoings or fraudulent activity during the election. His bottom line was that contrary to the “conspiracy” that had been proffered by a few on council and in the community that there was nothing wrong more than unintentional human error.

Contrary to what he had just been told, about 30 minutes later in the public session, Brian Thornton held up the same document and once again spouted possible transgressions by calculated conspirators. It’s all on video.

Brian’s never been one to let facts get in the way of a good story. So, when he spoke at the Retirement Board meeting about failed strategies and intentional conspiracies, it reminds me of what Ronald Reagan said when speaking about Walter Mondale “…There he goes again.”

So let me now personally address Brian in a few concluding comments. I wasn’t here but Brian, you were on council when Mike Susek was hired as the Director of Elections and you know that it was Susek that hired Beth McBride.

Brian, Council sets the budget. Therefore, it’s you, your colleagues and their predecessors fingerprints that are all over one of the prime reasons Luzerne County has had multiple election directors and deputies in a handful of years. It’s almost identical to the reasons the county can’t keep staff at Child and Youth Services, Public Defenders, District Attorney’s and 911 operators.

You and a few of your colleagues were the ones who spent countless hours trying to create a subterfuge to drop boxes when there was far more important work to do. And Brian, you were at the forefront of that enormous boondoggle trying to turn back over $1 million in state grants for the elections, money that was partially used for an automated ballot sorter that was one of the highlights of the 2022 election.

But those are just a few facts, and we certainly don’t want them to color your personal story.

So now Thornton opines the DA’s investigation is still ongoing and I may be part of it. I hope so, but so far no one has called me because we all know the county manager does not and did not run the elections.

Maybe the greater story should be why Luzerne County continues to be unable to attract and retain the best and brightest. Hopefully the DA will investigate the total meltdown of an election board member that resulted in her removal during the election count and a subsequent Department of Law investigation. Brian, I understand you and others continue to support her. How many failures will it take? I can only hope for the sake of the citizens of Luzerne County, the DA will include that in his investigative purview.

Finally, there’s no mention in the story by Thornton or others that the entire council well knew I had advised them long before the election that I would soon be leaving the county to attend to family medical matters. There’s also no mention that I was the one that asked the DA on the day of and for several days following the election for him and his team to take a look at how some of the polling machines were short of paper. No, the facts just don’t ever seem to find a way into Brian Thornton’s narratives.

Christianity says we should turn the other cheek. I believe in that. I also believe that people can have philosophical differences but they can only be solved when the actors are ethical and their dialogue is based on veracity. With this in mind, I pray Brian that somehow you’ll come to discern fact from fiction. I also thank God every day that I now enjoy the opportunity to spend time with my family.

Finally, I pray for the citizens of Luzerne County. Several key personnel have left in the last couple months. I’m sure there’s a host of reasons why, but from what I understand, it’s Brian and a few of his colleagues on council that are driving that ship. This is why it’s critical to know who you are voting for, what their qualifications are and what they stand for.

As former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil said, “All politics are local.”

Randy Robertson



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