Pay hike won’t be up to voters
Luzerne County commissioners don’t have the authority to let voters decide whether row officers should receive pay increases, so the decision will fall back on commissioners, said Commissioner Todd Vonderheid on Wednesday. County Solicitor Neil O’Donnell researched the law and concluded that a voter referendum may not supersede the state County Code, which says commissioners must vote on row officer pay, Vonderheid said.
Commissioner Greg Skrepenak came up with the referendum idea. Vonderheid supported looking into its legality so Skrepenak and Commissioner Stephen A. Urban aren’t forced to make the pay-raise decision as they prepare to run for re-election in 2007.
Forced? If you think it's justified vote for it and defend your decision. Don't hide behind a referendum that would probably lose anyway. Vondy has said he wants to increase the commissioners salary from $42,000 to $70,000. That's not going to happen. It would be political suicide to vote yourself a $28,000 pay raise in an election year. In fact I think that any raise would be met with public outrage.
Skrep's coal miner prompted this LTE in the Times-Leader:
As the grandson of a coal miner who died of anthrosilicosis, I am highly offended by the recent comments attributed to Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak. As taken directly from an article on your Web site: “The reason I believe the county is in the position that it was in is from that nonvisionary point of view, that nonvisionary attitude that keeps us in the past, that links us to still being coal miners, so to speak, that doesn’t want to see us go into the future.”
The Industrial Revolution that propelled America forward to its current position as a world power was borne on the backs of anthracite coal miners. The core of this man’s constituency is made up of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the people who toiled in that industry.
To even obliquely make any disparaging comments about a coal miner’s attitude is an egregious insult. I hold the memory of my grandfather John T. Raykovitz, a World War I veteran and lifelong resident of Wilkes-Barre’s Mayflower section, in the highest regard. He and his wife, Mary, raised eight children on a coal miner’s income.
All five of his sons served in World War II. His son Raymond, a 1941 GAR High School graduate, died in battle in the South Pacific on March 6, 1944.
An immediate apology from Mr. Skrepenak is in order. If nothing is offered, perhaps the descendants of all those who labored and died in the mines to provide a better life for their families should pause to reflect on their heritage and Mr. Skrepenak’s apparent opinion of the same the next time they are in a voting booth.
Don Williams Harleysville
6 hours ago