The county Republicans are looking for a sweep of the 3 row offices up for election this year and many local political observers have told me if they don't win this time they never will. Next to the Commissioners the most important job under the dome is Controller. The candidates are Republican Walter Griffith , Democrat Bob Morgan and Independent Wil Toole.
Toole is a long time Democratic politico from Pittston who flirted with a run for the Democratic nomination in the spring and applied for the job in 2008 when Maryanne Petrilla became Commissioner. Rapid Edward never got around to filling the post. He is now running as an Independent.
Toole was the first Controller candidate interviewed by the Times Leader Editorial Board and sometimes sounds like Rodney King. “I don’t know why we have to be at war. I don’t know why we can’t say, ‘This is wrong. Let’s fix it,’ rather than, ‘Ha, ha, ha, I got you.’ I just don’t see that as being necessary.” He touts his achievements as Pittston's as city clerk/administrator "I ran the city of Pittston for 13 years,” Toole said the city had low tax rates, paved roads, pristine parks, adequate staff, an over-funded pension fund and manageable debt load when he left in 1997.
The article also notes that Toole made headlines in 1999 when he agreed to repay Pittston nearly $19,000 in overtime the city said he illegally obtained. Pittston officials said he obtained that money by inflating the hours of overtime he worked during his last year of employment as city clerk. Felony charges of theft and tampering with public records against Toole were dismissed by a county judge. Who was the Judge?
I find it amazing that the TL would include that information in the article but not ask him to comment about it. I have asked Toole for his side of the story and will publish his response if he answers.
The Blogfather has been researching the PNC Bank ethics policy because Democratic nominee Bob Morgan is employed by that bank. He points out many potential conflicts of interest because PNC has been involved financing Luzerne County bonds and some pension funds also wash through PNC. The company prohibits outside employment that interferes with the employee's job responsibilities or schedule. Morgan is on record as saying he will keep his job at the bank and will devote whatever time he feels is necessary to the Controller's position. I'm just guessing but I think he keeps banker's hours so how is he going to be available for all the meetings of the Salary Board, Retirement Board, Commissioner's meetings and just running the day to day operations of the office? Maybe he has a lot of vacation time saved up.
The Lu Lac Political Letter is hosting a debate between the candidates at Bentley’s, Route 309 in Ashley Tuesday October 27th from 7 to 9PM. All three candidates have accepted David's invitation.
This is neat. A venue that I can grab a drink then go to a political debate. I think that we can make this into a blogger/committee meetup.
Update: The date for the debate is MONDAY OCT. 26th. We changed the date because of WVIA TV's broadcast debate on the night of the 27th. We felt it wouldn't be fair to the candidates to compete with that. So the debate is Monday, Oct. 26th
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