Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tone deaf

With all the proof of financial mismanagement in Luzerne County such as the debit card misuse and a never ending unbalanced budget these geniuses come up with more ways to spend money or forgo revenue.

Officials want to hire consultant to review purchasing policies

I think hiring the army of consultants the last few years has contributed to this fiscal mess. We elected the commissioners to set policy and they hire people to manage our money but they're going to bring in people from outside to explain to them what is right from wrong ? You can write all the policies you want but if they are not enforced they're worthless. So the response to the ethical lapses and lack of basic math skills is to spend more money. Incredible.

In middle of this mess the local Chamber of Commerce shows up looking for a handout.

Chamber requests $3.5 M in loan forgiveness

I haven't looked at the merits of the proposal but boy is the timing bad. The county can't pay this years bills plus things aren't looking good for next year and these guys want to renege on paying back some loans. Only in Luzerne County can a Democratic politician resign his office to head up the local Chamber then come back to that same body to ask for a sweetheart deal.

Other Debit Card news:

Deputy Warden Sam Hyder has not provided receipts for all his charges and was ordered to pay back anything he can't document but he wasn't fired, Yet. Skrep backs him for now but I think he will be thrown under the bus in an attempt to save the rest of their asses. The rest of the Magnificent Seven also some explaining to do.

Some people came out to protest what has been going on:

Protesters insist Skrep resign

Taxpayers Demand Resignations in Luzerne County

And one guy is going to file a criminal complaint. W-B: Joseph Naperkowski said he wants justice for Luzerne County taxpayers.

He plans to file a private criminal complaint against the seven officials using county-issued debit cards this morning with Luzerne County District Attorney David Lupas’ office.

Lupas will either blow it off or kick it down the road to the PA Attorney General who has already said that he won't investigate because of the Secret Service investigation. And what about that probe by an agency of almost universal acclaim in the investigation of financial crimes. This quote didn't make me confident.

WILKES-BARRE- The U.S. Secret Service field office in Philadelphia has requested a copy of the debit-card internal audit being conducted by the Luzerne County Controller’s Office, county Controller Maryanne Petrilla said Wednesday...Just because the Secret Service is investigating the debit-card usage, it doesn’t automatically mean the case will lead to criminal prosecution, Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Robert Slama said.

“A lot of times we can suggest best business practices, set up a system of checks and balances, internal audits, impartial review and other general business accounting practices,” Slama said.

Forget the Secret Service and the Attorney General the agency that matters in this is the IRS.

I think it's pretty simple. If the people who had the debit cards in 2006 and charged personal expenses to it without declairing it as income on that year's 1040 will have to answer to charges of tax evasion.


Anonymous said...

Keep the pressure on these guys. This issue is not Democratic or Republican, but graf and corruption. The only thing that will get this county moving in the right direction is HOMERULE. We must make it happen this time.

PS The Citizens' Voice seems a lot more aggressive than the TL on this topic - why?

Anonymous said...

Not to open a can of worms. (well, maybe a little) The chamber asking for 3.5 million in loan forgiveness was not a surprise. It's just another thing is this county that the general population was sheltered from. What I find interesting is how everyone is avoiding the link between Chris Hackett and the major problems facing the county. Chris is the Vice Chairman of the chamber and the chamber is about to go belly up. Chris's only political contributions ever have been to Greg Skrep in return for a county contract and Skrep and his pals are helping to make the county go belly up. It's funny how Chris talks about his financial experience in his radio ads when the only public examples show failure.

Anonymous said...

The reason no one is talking about Hackett and the county is because there is no link - just the one you're attempting to create. Too bad. The Meuser campaign is showing their hand in how they are going to run a dirty race - not much of a surprise given the people pulling the strings. The public deserves better than someone trying to muddy the waters to obscure his self dealing behavior.

Anonymous said...

Why can't Hacket, Meuser and Swiderski just disappear. All of you are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:30, no link??? What??? He's vice chairman of the chamber and they're bankrupt but there is no link?? He gave Skrep money in return for a contract and now Skrep is bankrupting the county and there's no link????? Right. You keep thinking that.
And what the hell does my post have to do with the Meuser Campaign??? Just because someone doesn't like Hackett they must work for Meuser????? Keep thinking that guys. I don't like anyone in this race yet. Hackett could buy all the air time he wants but anyone who really knows him will enlighten everyone they know about the REAL truth. You guys are pathetic.

Anonymous said...

I don't care for Hackett or Meuser. They are new names and faces but the same politics as usual. I still have to do more research on the other two before I pass judgment.

Anonymous said...

hackett has been removed as vice chair. He was however the vice chair of the chamber when they overspent 10 million plus on the theater project. Total cost of the project was 30 million. hackett will have to answer for it. he is saying he is a financial wizard and anti spender. I think this is a fair question

Unknown said...

Anon- people will talk about it because hackett is a self proclaimed financial wizard and anti spender- says so in his ads. A financial wizard who is 10 million over budget for his project, he must be missing some buttons on his financial wizard calculator