Poor Skrep, many of his friends have been indicted or are under investigation or quit. He must be a lonely guy. It's no wonder that he doesn't show up for work at the Courthouse unless there is a public meeting that he just can't duck.
WILKES-BARRE - Luzerne County Commissioner Greg Skrepenak said Friday he isn't resigning but is aware he could soon face criminal charges.
When all this first broke I asked a few people who know him if Skrep was corrupt and most of them said no. A few suggested that he had enough money from his football days but was used by the powers that be to line the pockets of the usual suspects just like it has always been done. In other words he was too fucking stupid to know what was going on. I don't buy that.
Update: I have asked longtime Pittston Democratic politico and recent Independent candidate for Controller Wil Toole to occasionally weigh in with his thoughts about county government. He shares his thoughts about Skrep in the first of what I hope will be many guest posts. I have also reached out to other retired politicians inviting them to share their wisdom. There is nothing like experience.
People are waiting for the shoe to fall. It is my firm belief that people who do not have first hand information should not sit in judgment of anyone. I recall my very first meeting of Greg Skrepnak, it was at Kings College and there was a debate for all Commissioner candidates. I knew enough about government to know that there is absolutely no substitute for experience but integrity could come very close.
After the debate, I approached Mr Skrepnak, shook his hand and wished him well because men of integrity are needed on all levels of government. With all of my government experience, I thought that integrity would carry his lack of experience and he would learn on the job. After all, I had watched a young Frank Crossin go from a novice public official to a well oiled management machine. When he left office, there was nothing he didn't know or understand about county government. Therefore, Skrep would do just fine.
Skrep's problem came about through another character trait, loyalty. Skrep was loyal to his friends. He knew them, he trusted them and he covered himself in their consul. The problem was that they too were government novices and just didn't know that there was no such thing as the "old days". They thought they were doing things the way things were always done. Not so. Crossin and his peers understood how government operated and they stayed within the rules. People may not have liked the results or the way things were done but the efforts were legal. Crossin and company knew the value of experience, surrounded themselves with it and knew to not cross the line of right and wrong.
Skrep said he has done nothing wrong, has not cleaned out his office and has no intention of resigning. Speaking for myself, I can accept that. I can accept that he was not aware of the games being played and I can accept that what he did do, he thought was perfectly OK because his inexperience told him that those are the kinds of things that have always been done. Who exactly thought up the debit card use? Who exactly thought up the private contract use that has gone so far astray? Where was the public cop who was supposed to be watching? What happened to the checks and balances of government. The Controller, the army of county attorneys who hold solicitorship's, the experienced managers, the senior employees who should have known enough to blow a whistle or sound an alarm? There are more directions to point a finger than there are fingers.
So here we are and what do we do about it? Each of us have a responsibility and none of us have the luxury of sitting back and waiting for someone else to getter dun. In this past General election 65% of the voters allowed the privilege and responsibility to come and go, and didn't bother to participate in the process of choosing our public officials. So the choice of those who will lead us was determined by approximately 15% of those qualified to vote. Do we dare ask why things are as they are? For how long will we allow slogans to guide our judgement? Allow newspapers to advise us on whom should serve? When will we the people see though the nonsense, question the ability of those who seek public office and base our choice on something other than Party affiliation or recommendations of those who probably know less than the average bear?
This past Thursday, I physically delivered a letter to the Commissioner's office addressed to each of the three Commissioners. Without going into detail, I recounted some very pointed and specific experience I have and which they could make use of. I volunteered my time and made myself available to meet with them and their management team. No, I did not receive a call Thursday or Friday but did I really expect to? That's not a rhetorical question, now you can be the judge!
You can read the letter here.