Thursday, January 17, 2008

The latest outrage in Luzerne County

Luzerne County has paid a New York company more than $670,000 since May for employment services through a no-bid contract not approved by county commissioners.

Under the contract, Continental hires workers chosen for county work and provides workers’ compensation and payroll services for those employees. The county is charged two fees — 1.19 percent of clerical employees’ hourly rates and 1.33 percent of field employees’ rates. The county paid OneSource Staffing Solutions more than $707,000 for similar employment services from January 2006 to May 2007. Both county employment contracts didn’t include expiration dates or maximum payment amounts.

Not even the Commissioners know what is going on let alone our clueless former Controller.

TL: Eight people who retired from Luzerne County’s 2005 special early-out incentive are still working as consultants for the county – prompting complaints from union workers...Initially, some county officials argued that retaining consultants was a cost-efficient way for retirees to train their replacements. The retirees received their prior hourly pay but no health benefits.
However, Urban said he has received complaints from workers and taxpayers that consultants continue to work when they have already received early-retirement bonuses of $20,000 plus $1,000 for each full year of service and payment of accrued vacation and sick time.

This is what I wrote about the golden parachute scheme 2 years ago:

Our two Luzerne County Commissioners, Greg Skrepnak and Todd Vonderheid, who along with their army of consultants who came up with the Orwellian sounding "Life Transition Plan" hired back a bunch of people who were supposed to be let go. But the kicker is they are not on the county payroll but work for a temp service. So in addition to paying them the same salary the county is paying a premium to the employment service.

And the audit of the lease the PA Child Care facility in Pittston paints county officials as inept negotiators who blindly entered into an agreement that allowed PA Child Care’s owners to reap “unreasonable” profits at the expense of county, state and federal taxpayers. Remember that the people who own PA Child Care also want to build a useless airport near Hazleton with the help of a boatload of taxpayer money.

Sam Guesto was one of the people who negotiated this contract and is now being considered for a newly created position of director of specialty courts and alternative sentencing. Guesto was the guy that was supposed to monitor/approve spending on the county debit cards. Now Steve Urban and many others are calling for his head but it looks like he will end up with a soft landing.

And the new Commissioner's Maryanne Petrilla's solution to all the bad press that the county lately has been getting was to fire Kathy Bozinski as Luzerne County public information officer. And she did this without the normal personnel executive session or giving Bozinski a chance to defend herself. Yeah, Petrilla is real breath of fresh air.

The people in charge have been failing us for a long time and maybe it's time to shake up the whole system. Home Rule may not be the solution to the problems of Luzerne County government but it's worth a try because this system is not working right.



Anonymous said...

What??? A county contract returning retired workers as temps, and One Source didin't get it...did Hackett's check bounce?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, it is about time Attorney General Tom Corbett gets off his a** and does his job and prosecutes those who violate the county code (state law) instead of letting this stuff slide so he can get votes in the fall from the Dems.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing- Hackett's company gets two no bid contracts, donates money to Skrep and Vonderheid and nobody is following up on this. You are right Corbett should be investigating the pay for play.