Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nanda Palissery for Controller-the interview

I had a chat with Republican Luzerne County Controller candidate Nanda Palissery on Thursday. Nanda emmigrated with his family from India to Wilkes-Barre when he was 2 years old and has lived the American dream like many other immigrants. Hard work and a good education pay off. He graduated from Wyoming Valley West High School then went to Texas A&M (go Aggies) where he got an Engineering degree. He then went on to Temple University Law School.
He is a New York Yankees fan but I will forgive him for that.
Why should you be the next Luzerne County Controller?
A couple of things that I think that are important. One is that I always believed and was raised to believe that if you want something to be done right, do it yourself. Among the candidates that have submitted their names in this election to run I think I am the most qualified for a couple of reasons. One is that I have a business background, I’ve had various businesses in the area including my own law practice for 15 years. I’ve been fairly successful with that. Two, in addition to a business background I have a legal background and I think a lot of what the Controller does is legal in nature. That is interpreting contracts and appropriateness of spending and so on. I think for those 2 reasons if nothing else I think I am the most qualified candidate. And third I’ll you that, not to be boastful, that I am a hard worker. I work all the time, as of right now in fact my wife and kids are on vacation. They went to Florida, I did not. I’m here and working, I have to work that’s who I am. Being a hard worker is a quality that I think that is important is this race as well.
Will you be a full time Controller?
I know that there has been talk about that. I’m going to be a 24/7 Controller. That is I will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for any issues that come up. A lot of the work that has to be done in this case is not a matter of being in the office 8 to 5 because that’s not what this is about. What this is about is reviewing expenditures, reviewing contracts and so on and understanding what the Controller does. He doesn’t necessarily have to be there 8 or 9 hours a day but I will be available whenever the office requires me to be there.
The last time I heard you speak you said you knew a lot about the operations of the office and they were behind on audits. I don’t know how it’s staffed but what kind of people would you be looking for such as your deputy and auditors. The type of people not necessarily names?
One of the things that is happening in the office as I understand it is that there are several people on the Controller’s staff that actually don’t do work for the Controller that should be reassigned to the Treasurer’s office. They do some work for the Controller’s office but not enough. So there is a lack of auditors in the office and we need more of those. So one of the first things I want to do is propose to the commissioners a reallocation of the people in the office so we can get more auditors on board so the office can do one of the things it has to do. That is to complete the audits of all the magistrates’ offices and municipalities and so on. So that’s one of the first thing we have to do.

When Steve Flood took over the office he made a point of hiring a deputy that with a CPA that was from out of the area and no political ties. Are you willing to do something similar?
I think it’s obviously important having a CPA as our deputy, there is no doubt about that. Having CPAs as much as we can available in the office is important. As far as political ties are concerned, I am absolutely for someone who is independent and without ties. The problem is a practical matter. If you can find somebody who is qualified, who doesn’t have political and will relocate from outside the area then great. I don’t know if those persons exist, if they we will seek them out. And another thing I want to bring up as well because we talking about whether I will be a full time Controller. One of the things you have to consider is that in order to do this job effectively you have to be beyond reproach and that’s what I am. I’m not doing this for the money as I said before and I’m also not doing this for any other advantages or whatever benefits that may come from it. It’s a matter of doing it for the right reasons and being beyond reproach means being financially beyond reproach as well. That is what I am, I’m not easily bought. If the public is looking for a guy who is going to be there from 8 to 5 and give up whatever he does for a living to do this then the public is going to get that. There going to get somebody who is striving to get a $35,000 a year job. Or if you want to have somebody that is beyond reproach I believe that you have to have someone who has a life and who has the ability to not cave to money offers and whatever else might come along if it did. And that’s who I am, I’m beyond that. I’m not for sale is my point.
A few years you ran for Judge. Why run for Controller instead of Judge this time with a couple of seats open?
That’s a good question. The reason is I don’t think a judge can do what needs to be done in this county to start bringing fiscal responsibility back to the county and to bring transparency to the government and so on. Those are things I’m running on. A judge can’t do that, a judge is limited as to what he can promise to do. He is limited as to what his role is in government because he doesn’t have a role in government. He’s in a different branch, the judicial branch. As a Controller we have a voice on the Pension Board and Salary Board and those are things that I can bring some order to and bring some regularity to. As well as what I call normalcy, that is being beyond being bought. I think I could do a great job as judge I really do. Maybe someday I may reconsider it. As of right now Controller is a position that I think we can make a change in our government that we need to make at this point.
You were recently endorsed by the Luzerne County Republican Party. What has that gotten you?

As this point I’m very proud to have been endorsed. What has it gotten me so far? I’ve had discussions with the party concerning advertising and so on. Obviously I can advertise in my campaign that I am the endorsed Republican. But I think what’s important that the people know that there was an endorsement procedure and of the people who were up for endorsement I was the one who was selected. And it was a matter of qualification. What it does is that is gives me the ability to say that I’m qualified for this position and not only do I think so but so does the Republican Party of Luzerne County.
A little nuts and bolts about campaigns. How are you financing? Are you doing it yourself, are you asking for donations?

At this point the bulk of the money that has been promised so far is from me. As far as donations are concerned we haven’t had… any… So when I say the bulk…
You’re it.

I’m it. But I’m expecting there will be some financial contributions. We want to do a fundraiser maybe 2. The main part of our campaign at this point is going to be mailers targeted to super voter Republicans and targeting people who are most likely to vote in this election. We need to put money together for that reason. In addition to that obviously I’m going around to different events and introducing myself to people who do not know me. I have a small breakfast scheduled for tomorrow just for a select group of people that I’m hoping that will be able to help me financially as well.
Other than mailers are you planning radio or TV?

Radio and TV are in the schedule and I just ordered signs today, some cards to hand out and stickers to wear and so on.
Around here people make a big thing about the ethnicity of politicians. You don’t look Irish.

You don’t look Irish. If someone thought I was Irish I would have to tell them I was from the southern most tip of Ireland. No I don’t, I thought it would be an issue in the campaign when I ran in 2003 but I don’t think that it was. If it was it was a small issue. At this point I don’t think that it’s an issue at all. And I’m really happy to say that for a couple of reasons one is that it’s good to know that people aren’t looking at your skin color as the issue or your ethnicity as the issue. The issue is am I qualified to do the job. I forget what blog I read it on but someone said, maybe it was Gort42, if we can have a President with a strange name we could have a Controller that has one too.
I wrote that.

I loved that, it was a great line.
Palissery almost sounds Italian.

It does, if I just changed the y to an i, I would be Italian and change Nanda to Nando.
I forgot to ask him about Home Rule in our sit down so I called him to ask. This is a paraphrase.

I want to see the plan because they could come up with something worse than what we have. It’s important that people with a knowledge of how government works be elected to the Study Commission. Kingston Mayor Jim Haggerty is a good choice for the commission.

I have 2 questions from my fellow bloggers. I don’t know if you a familiar with Wilkes-Barre Online.

No I’m not.

This goes back to the full time thing.

In a county mired in countless political corruption scandals, a county near overwhelmed by crushing outstanding debts, a county where recent, unrealistic budgets amounted to red ink ultimately paid for up by even more future outstanding debts, should the newly elected County Controller put his or her chosen career on the back burner for the time being and take the taxpayer’s financial bull by the horns?

One of the misconceptions is about the actual role of the Controller and that’s something that people need to understand that there is not a lot of discretion that the Controller has. The Controller does not have discretion over what items are to be paid or funded. All I can do as the Controller is to say is hey look this was supposed to be approved by the commissioners before it got paid. Just like I said before Dr. Vita is my example having collected $1.2 million since 2001 that was never approved by the commissioners. That’s what the role would be. As far as budgets and so on I will do and say whatever I can say as far as they accept input from the Controller. But I don’t have a lot as a Controller that I can do about the budget there is not a lot of discretion that I exercise in that regard. What I am saying is the time that I’m going to make available will be anytime they need me to do anything. I don’t necessarily need to put my career on the back burner to do that.

And bloggers being wise guys Norton wants to know what cigars you like?

There is whole bunch of cigars I like but for the most part I’m generally a Maduro smoker.

That’s it. Anything you want to add?

Just to say I firmly believe I think I’m the best candidate for this job, I really think I am. I don’t just say that to be boastful I just think that I am. I don’t know if anybody can do a better job than I can. Because I will work as hard to as I need to… to get this job done right. I have absolute confidence that’s going to be me.


Anonymous said...

ATTORNEY Palissary sounds a little wishy-washy on the full-time issue. He'll be there when needed, but cant commit to being there 9-5 five days a week. Why not? If he was serious about it, he could commit to it in a second. Sounds to me like his law practice will come first.

I don't like the thought of another attorney in a row office who can't get around the double-speak that implies (possibly) that he is more intent on taking care of himself first (or his friends)... anyone remember Jill Moran?

McGruff said...

I disagree with the 9 to 5 concept. If you support it do you have any information that makes 9 to 5 the hours that are needed to perform the duties required of the office? More importantly wouldn't the question be "Are you willing to devote at least 40 hours per week to this position?" If so how will that impact your career? If not, how many hours do you expect to put in?

McGruff said...

The $35,000 per year salary is the real problem. Look on the net and see what county controllers are paid. How can we demand full time attention when we offer part time salary. Read Above Average Jane's post on the subject.

Anonymous said...

My question is: If Walter Griffith is running for 3 or 4 different offices and actually wins more than one, how will he be in the office from 9-5? A full time controller? We don't need 9-5 people. We need intelligence and committment. Palissery is the only one with those qualifications.

Anonymous said...

Imagine a lawyer working for a shit paying job like this? Accessible, what a crock of shit...and this is the anointed one made in the back room of Perugino's with Pat Solano holding court

Anonymous said...

Clearly Palissery is highly educated and highly qualified. He's exactly the kind of business professional we need in county government. We've got to be thankful a guy like this wants to step up and take a $35,000 a year job just so he can do the right thing for our county. I'm sold!

Mary from Kingston said...

Anonymous 9:00PM

Walter Griffith is only running for 2 positions that require his attention. The other position's are Judge of Election and PA State Constable and those are twice a year jobs at election time. The position of Controller is a "Full Time" position and the Government Study Commission is a maximum 18 month position and Walter is able to perform these positions without missing any time in the Controller's office.

Anonymous said...

Mary, the plural of the word "position" is "positions" - no apostrophe. Where the hell did you learn to spell? I guess we should value your opinion, huh?

Anonymous said...

Walter's running for 4 positions? Why don't we just let him run the entire county himself?

Dave in Dallas said...

"People who make less than $35K need to get a life!" - Nanda Palissery

Everyone is missing THE BIG story in this whole article. Nanda said (quote): If the public is looking for a guy who is going to be there from 8 to 5 and give up whatever he does for a living to do this then the public is going to get that. There going to get somebody who is striving to get a $35,000 a year job. Or if you want to have somebody that is beyond reproach I believe that you have to have someone who has a life and who has the ability to not cave to money offers and whatever else might come along if it did....


So, anyone in Luzerne County who does not make at least $35,000 a year, has no life and will probably cave to money offers?

How absolutely arrogant!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nanda - my wife makes less than $35,000 a year. So, are you saying that she'll probably cave to money offers and whatever else might come along if it did?

It sure sounds like it.

I agree with Dave in Dallas - How arrogant!!!

Anonymous said...

all the clock punchers expect that all one can handle is one job at a time, mostly because they do not have the drive or scheduling abilities to do one thing at a time.... this guy is correct, it is not about being in an office for certain hours a day... if he can get the work done i don't car how many hours he puts in... but the coal mine thinking around here is that if you don't punch that clock you aren't working... he won my vote because of this interview.....

Hank in Hazleton said...

Nanda -
I can not believe you!!! I am totally offended. So you think that we should elect you because people who make less than $35,000 a year are more likely to cave to money offers? You think they have NO LIFE? Who do you think you are? So, elect a rich trial lawyer because he won't be tempted by money, because he already has enough!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Nanda,

You are the endorsed Canidate for the Republican Party that supports Democrats. I would not advertise that or maybe you should.

You say that you are the best candiate. You are a hard worker. How hard did you work to get the pimp off with Civerella as the Judge. or I heard in your neighborhood, you are the guy to get anyone off from a DUI Case. Have you called AJ to offer him some advice. To me that is not hard work when your name was on the list of donors to the Judges. How hard was it writing the checks to them. Cut me a break. Gort you let this man off easy. You never mentioned to him about how he was hand picked from birth by the Big Boys. He will lose and lose big time

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:30 He won your vote over because of a timeclock issue. I see your standards are set high.

Anonymous said...

On the Cigar question , is he bringing Monica to the Couthouse

John said...

Are we to believe that this guy will be available 3:00 am to answer any question concerning the county work. Give me your number Nanda and let me call you at 3:00 am and see if you answer. Come On you are ful lof Bull---. Do you know that being a hard worker does not clasify you as being the better candiate. I could put a mule in the kentucky derby, he will work really hard but he will lose. Its called working smart something that Attys are not used to. Look at how many Attys work in Government all around this Country. Then look at all of the problems. Thank an Attorney for that. You are so stuck on yourself.

Anonymous said...

Had it not been for Dan Muser and Mayor Haggerty, you would not even be a contender. Back to this $35,000 deal. You mean to tell me that the US Congress/Senate make less than 35,000. or Juvie Judges, Skrep, Vonderheid, they all make less than 35,000. Just goes to show the stero type that you have. I believe I saw your name a some donations to two certain Judges. I thought you don't make deals. I would love to know who were the judges in some of your big cases that awarded you the big bucks.

Holly Coolbaugh said...

Hello everyone.
I'm at my brother's house, and he just told me what Nanda said about people who make less thank $35,000 a year(we don't have life and we are more susceptible to being tempted by money, because we don't have as much money as he does). I don't care a bunch about politics, but that is one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. I agree with the others: that was very arrogant. How dare you? Just because someone doesn't make as much money as you do, does not mean that they have no life!!! Also, I think Mr. Palissary needs to publically apologize for what he said. You should be ashamed, Mr. Nanda.

Thank you,

Norton The Blogger said...

Nice job Gort, as always. Seems like the $35,000 comments stirred up the masses. Let's get real here. If someone is willing to spend 8am to 5pm behind a desk at the controller's office for $35K a year, I would certainly question his or her motivation and credentials.

Nanda owes no apology to anyone. He has a good point. The controller is not a "patent clerk" who must sit behind a desk from 8 to 5 to "clock in" the "better mouse trap."

He or she is a manager, who should put into place an office of professionals who zealously watch the taxpayers money. If they need constant supervision during all the business hours, then they aint the right people for the job.

The controller aint no babysitter, and those who think he or she is, probably should stick to something else besides choosing our county leaders.

Anonymous said...

Norton -

Just to clarify, I posted the first comment in this thread.

The Controller should be there from 9 to 5 to manage the office. Period.

He or she should be there to make sure everyone else is doing their jobs, to field calls from taxpayers, other row officers, and the press. It is not my belief that the row officer needs constant supervision - he or she should be a constant supervisor, not a babysitter. I will again remind you of individuals like Jill Moran.

As far as your final comment - this is a democratic republic - everyone has a right (and some might say a duty) to "stick to... choosing... our county leaders," even if they don't think the same way as you.

I still see no reason to elect another attorney who is vague about the amount of time he is willing to commit to the job to a row office in Luzerne County.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Ok.... here's what I meant to say and how it was supposed to come out.....

Wouldn't the voters of Luzerne County rather a person who has volunteered to be their controller be someone who is giving something up to do it and is motivated only by doing good by the voters and citizens of the county than someone who has nothing better to do and would do anything to have the job? My motives are selfless. I am interested in the job for the sole reason that I can do the job well, and can begin to restore faith in local government. To those who interpreted what I said so as to be offensive, I apologize. I certainly did not mean to offend anyone or imply that if you didn't make $35k/year you didn't have a life. Does that help? Please e-mail me if you would like at I will try to respond to anyone who desires it. Thank you and please accept my apologies.

Nanda Palissery said...

Sorry, forgot to sign my name.... I wrote the last comment.


Anonymous said...


No need to apologize to the crazies. If these people think we should elect the first guy who promises to sit in the office from 9 to 5, rather than the most qualified candidate, then so be it. You're head and shoulders more qualified than the others. Just win this thing!

Anonymous said...

Now you talk to us like we are morons. "DOES THAT HELP?" Your arrogance in your comments were clear. If you make $35,000/year you would be more prone to take pribes. That is so stupid. First of all I would rather have someone in office that wants to clean it up because of their values and morals rather than you because you are well off financially. The sad things is that you believe in your first statements. Politics are not volunteer work.

Sad News said...

Hey everyone say a prayer for Harry his family and the Phillies Family

High Hopes

Anonymous said...

A Day Walter Griffith's Controler's Office.

7:59 am Controller Walter Griffith (CWG) punches in for work.

8:00-8:30 am CWG drinks his coffee and peruses newspaper for favorable press.

8:30-9:00 am CWG reads chapter 3 of "Accounting for Dummies"

9:00 to 9:05 am CWG reviews resumes for deputy controller. No accountants have applied for the $22,000 a year full time position. The out of work bookie, who's "good with numbers" appears to be the top candidate.

9:28 am CWG gives directions to someone looking for the men's room.

9:29-10:05 am CWG plays 14 games of solitaire on his desktop computer, wins 5 games.

10:06 am CWG gives woman directions to Voter Services Office.

10:08 am CWG calls John Scherrer (Video Professor) to see if he has a computer learning video for Quick Books.

10:15 am CWG leaves office to attend Commissioner's meeting.

10:29 am CWG arrives at Commissioner's meeting.

10:30 to 11:30 am CWG asks three questions, all pertaining to trash receptacles at Moon Lake Park.

11:30 am to 12:15 pm CWG brown bags it on public square, because he cannot afford to eat out on a $36,000 a year salary.

12:16 pm CWG returns to office. Checks for phone messages, there are none.

12:45 pm CWG answers phone call for someone looking for the Treasurer's office.

1:00 to 2:10 pm CWG grapples with the understanding of FIFO versus LIFO.

2:35 pm CWG fields a call from someone looking for a good mechanic.

2:40 to 3:50 pm CWG reviews audits from Steve Flood's tenure.

3:50 to 4:30 pm CWG waits at the front door of the controller's office for people to come in. No one shows.

4:31 pm CWG leaves work

4:45 pm John Scherrer calls back with his special "Quick Books in 4 Easy Lessons" offer. Leaves a message.

4:50 pm Warden calls with procurement question. Leaves message.

5:30 to 7:30 pm Majority Commissioners meet a local restaurant to hash out backroom deal on new hirings. Neither leave a message for CWG.

8:47 pm Janitor spills CWG's unfinished cup of coffee on CWG's computer keyboard, shorts out the entire system.

9:02 pm CWG gets detoured around his office due to the fire engines and other emergency vehicles which have responded to the electrical fire caused by the janitor's accident. CWG is on his way home from a charter study meeting.

9:45 pm Fire department declares fire under control. $567,000 in damage to controller's office.

Anonymous said...

To the prior poster: Do you have a crystal ball, or what? Sure sounds like it!


Zen said...

nice interview Gort. well done!

Anonymous said...

Hey where's Bob?

Anonymous said...

This was a great interview. I hope all the candiates from the both row offices would be interviewed. Get these people nice and relaxed and then their mouths will do the rest.

Anonymous said...

I'm still laughing at the "Day in the Life" of Walter Griffith comment. Well done Gort and Anonymous 2:32pm

Anonymous said...

Well at least Walter Griffith has a day in the office, can't say that for Nanda. He won't be there. Not bad for someone who has never done the job! We should all be like him and have all the answers not too mention able to multitask.

Anonymous said...

Nanda -

Your explanation was just as bad (if not worse) than your original blunder. You explain that you didn't mean to say that someone who only makes $35,000 a year has no life...what you meant to say was that they are (quote) "someone who has nothing better to do and would do anything to have the job?"


Just shut-up...please!

Anonymous said...

Prior poster, I don't know about Nanda, but I have nothing against low income people. I am annoyed, however, with room temperature IQ people like yourself.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous 5:05 or Nanda,

bad bad come back. Stop digging

Anonymous said...

Is this guy a Hindu?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:05 - I won't lower myself to your "room temperature IQ" retort. You sound like the grown-up, blogger version of a kid on the playground having no response so he blurts out, "SO WHAT! YOU'RE DUMB". Anyway, please stick to the issues instead of the childish name calling.

Here is the issue: Nanda said some very dumb, condescending things. He then apologized. However, in his apology, his attitude was just as arrogant, saying that he didn't mean to offend people who make less than 35K by saying they have no life and would be more tempted than he. What he meant to say was that they are, (again, quote:) "someone who has nothing better to do and would do anything to have the job". THAT, is the issue - not the "so what, you're dumb", childish retort you came up with.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about the "room temperature IQ" bit. I should have said "IQ equivalent to the frequency of the average UHF television station." I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

As a general rule, when a person focuses on the "so what, you're dumb" kindergarten excuse it is because the point which they are asked to defend is indefensible. Thank you for illustrating this principle to be accurate once again.

Anonymous said...

Well, you really ARE dumb.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 10:37am

Anonymous said...

to the person who wrote about Walter...were you at any of the commissioners' meetings, standing up for the taxpayers of Luzerne County? And by the way, the meetings start promptly at 10 o'clock now thanks to Walter speaking up. I'll be at the next meeting also, looking for your name on the public comment list. My name is Audrey Simpson. What's yours?

Anonymous said...

Has the Hindu thing been cleared up yet?

Anonymous said...

No, I don't think the Hindu thing has been cleared up yet.

On anther note. Sounds like Nanda is trying to run for controller based off of a modle of homecare. Take a look at, then google the company's president Gregory Malia. Then see who is defending this criminal. Thats where the money will come from. Strong ties there.