It's really getting hard to keep up on this. Everyday brings another revelation, another headline and even more outrage.
There is a danger that this will overshadow all the other mismanagement such as the ballooning debt and failure to balance the county budget year after year and hiding it until after the last election. The sweetheart deal with PA Child Care for a juvenile jail in Pittston that is subject to a state audit that says the county may lose state reimbursements because of the way the lease was written. Declaring "emergencies" so they can avoid the bidding process to make improvements at the county prison and supposedly fix county owned bridges. How's the bridge repair going? A county owned bridge on Cleveland Street in Plains was damaged during the flood in November 2006 making it impassable and it's still not fixed! And on and on.
Yesterday it was revealed that Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak used his card to pay for hotel rooms for his kids that went with him to the conference of the PA County Commissioners in York. He said it was a mistake because he thought he used his own credit card to make the reservations. I used to be in the hotel business and whatever card you use to guarantee the room doesn't matter as you have to provide a form of payment when you check-in. So I'm sure when the desk clerk asked how he was paying he produced the county card and didn't offer another card for the kids rooms that had to be paid for separately. I listened to Corbett interview him on WILK and he denied that he even had a credit card. But then he told the TL he can’t say for sure how much he overbilled the county until he finishes reviewing his personal credit card receipts.
More questions have arisen about the star of this show Luzerne County Deputy Warden Sam Hyder about training in Lancaster and a couple of fact finding trips to a New York prison. Then it was revealed that he uses a county owned 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe that he takes home even when he is on vacation. Predictably, he has lawyered up.
And he should:
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett should make his determination “in the next week of so” whether to launch a criminal probe into alleged debit-card abuse by Luzerne County officials, a spokesman said Wednesday.
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