Former Luzerne County Commissioner Todd Vonderheid told the the Luzerne County Government Study Commission on Wednesday that he would vote to lease the PA Child Care juvie prison in Pittston again.
CV: In November 2004, commissioners Vonderheid and Greg Skrepenak signed a $58-million, 20-year lease for a juvenile facility owned by Hazleton-area attorney Robert J. Powell and western-Pennsylvania businessman Gregory Zappala...In January, disgraced former judges Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. and Michael T. Conahan were charged with taking more than $2.8 million in a kickback scheme to send juveniles to Pennsylvania Child Care LLC's facilities. Powell pleaded guilty in July; Zappala has not been charged or accused of wrongdoing..."I'd sign that lease tomorrow, with only two alterations," he said.
I'm not going to rehash all the controversy about that decision because everybody who reads the local papaers and this blog knows the story. I just find that statement to be in-fucking-credible.
Vonderheid is now the head honcho of the local chamber of commerce that always tells us that we have "great work ethic" and promises "good paying jobs." Under his stellar management the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry just avoided having it's headquarters sold at tax sale.
While he was in office he teamed with Greg Skrepenak and an army of consultants to produce county budgets that were works of fiction resulting in ever more borrowing every year just to pay the bills. That's why I call them the Bond Brothers.
Now we have to deal with Skrep and Vondy's lack of basic math skills and Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla and Steve Urban will have to bite the bullet and raise taxes to balance the budget. They are already getting beat up in the newspapers comment sections about the possibility. Last week Urban told me that they are not going to borrow any more money and I don't think that they could even if they wanted to because the county has reached the limit.
Nobody wants to pay more property taxes but I don't see an alternative.
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