Thursday, October 29, 2009

Luzerne County Controller

The Controller's contest continues to be the hot race with Walter Griffith complaining about Bob Morgan's campaign finance report after Morgan complained about his last one. They both filed corrections to the reports.

Griffith has been critical throughout the campaign of Maryanne Petrilla's performance as Controller in the brief time she held the office before becoming a Luzerne County Commissioner and Wil Toole took a shot at her in Monday's debate.

Toole gave the play by play of his pursuit of the endorsement of the AFSCME local that covers county employees saying he was a founder of the local union. They didn't endorse him. He said he wanted it then lobbed this bomb on why he didn't get it. "Then I found out that Maryanne Petrilla had hired the President's daughter two months previous."

Maryanne's response "He should be careful about what he says."

The Union President, Paula Schnelly, said "With all the controversy and corruption, we decided not to endorse anyone and stay clear of endorsements," she said. "Why he is making it personal, I don't know. ... I heard he alleged I am tight with Maryanne Petrilla. I know Maryanne Petrilla as well as I know Wil Toole."

Director of Assessments Anthony Alu recommended hiring Ms. Schnelly because she was the best qualified applicant.

Wil Toole chimed in on the CV website:

I think it incredulous to think that there are a hundred union members out of work and the Commissioners hired the union presidents daughter. I don't know about you but I don't think a hundred union members should be out of work and not even be offered the opportunity of a job. And by the way, if anyone believes that the commissioners hiring the union president's daughter is a coincidence then I have a bridge to sell. Where was that job advertised? I also find it amazing that after a hundred years of patronage, these Commissioner's have offered up the gift of job giving to their managers. Right!

Wil Toole, Former County AFSCME Union President

One last poll. Who should be the next Controller? Vote on the sidebar and give your reasons in the comments.


Anonymous said...

I've been doing a lot of research and soul searching on who to select in this very important election. Were it not for Wil Toole's past, this election would be a no-brainer for him.

I'm not going to get into the questions about his disability pension or anything else that has already been discussed over and over again. One of the big questions I have about Wil is how is his temperament going to be when he doesn't get his way? To see a man in his entirety, look at how he reacts to adversity, and surely no time was tougher for Wil in his public life than during and after the primary of 1997.

As City Clerk, Wil was in charge of the City, and the Mayor and Council were happy to allow him to do things his way. He had a great deal of power, given to him by the administration he worked under. Giving him that power was their prerogative, and he used that power to do all the wonderful things for the City that he has been touting during this race. When his administration lost the election, he suddenly said that stress got to be too much and he needed to retire on disability. What happens if he gets challenged when he has to make the tough decisions as the Controller? If he doesn't get his way, how will Wil react?

Another point, look at his reaction related to the Tomato Festival after the defeat. Not long after the primary in 1997 he was in the paper saying he was going to shut the festival down because the City voters said they didn't want that administration, so he was going to do what he could to take the festival offline that year. Wil was more than willing to let his team's defeat bring an end to the festival that has given Pittston its identity for the past 20+ years. His reaction back then surely didn't put the taxpayers or the public first. Again, when he is challenged as Controller, will he fold up, take his ball and go home?

Were it not for these points and the other questions about his past which have been rehashed over and over, Wil would have my vote. His knowledge and experience in government trumps the others in the race twice or three times over, and the difference in Pittson from when he was running things until now is undeniable. Sadly, Wil can't rewrite history, and that history I just can't reconcile enough to give him my vote.

PoorRichard said...

Anon12:22, History cannot be reconciled when you truly don't know the facts. It has often been said that history is what historians write. Thankfully, I am still alive and well and I know the exact circumstances of your doubts and unfortunate conclusions. So for the record, here's how it was.

Prior to the election of 1997, the decision was made that for the first time in many years, it would not be me running the Primary campaign. A professional would be hired and one was. I had little to do with that actual campaign strategy.

The first thing the pro did was to conduct a survey of city residents. Oddly enough, the survey showed that the Walsh administration was over. People overwhelmingly liked the way the city was run and had no complaint BUT and it was a big BUT; it was time for a change. That said it all.

When the election was over and the Walsh administration was definitely leaving office, my loyalty to Tom Walsh had officially ended. If he had won, my loyalty would have demanded that I stay and I would now be dead. I was in no condition to continue a career demanding that every project carry my expertise and when I presented any problem to Council, I also had to present a solution to that problem. The loss was my win.

I told the mayor that I just couldn't continue but I would stay as long as possible. He asked that I stay to prepare the final city budget and I agreed. In the meantime, I spoke with my personal doctor and he advised me to leave the position. The retirement Board was advised of my intention and I was given the names of three doctors who were on the city list (at that time) and I went to each of them and they in turn agreed that I could not continue in my position. Each doctor signed a letter that my present health prevented me from performing the duties of my job and the Pension Board accepted those letters. I stayed as long as I could and I did prepare the city's final budget. The incoming administration had beat me up pretty badly blaming me for things that just didn't sixth and pained me to be the control monster of the city and a bully to the employees (ask them if they want me back).

I retired and the Lombardo Administration took over and continued to beat me to death. Law suits sere filed back and forth and the outcome has been very clearly stated in my recent videos. After a two year fight, the judge negotiated my pension and I left. End of Part 1

PoorRichard said...

Part 2 of 3:

For the record, the Tomato Festival almost ended twice. The first time was when John Watson, publisher of the Sunday Dispatch did an article about the potential sale of the Tomato Festival lot and took the skin off of Council members Ken Scaz and Jim Kolmansberger. He said some very strong things about their character and said something about them making deals in the middle of the night and other such nonsense.

Jimmy did not play a real role in the Festival but Ken was the General Chairman. He was levied with Watson and said that's it. Let Watson spend the hours and let him put the Festival together. It's over! I stepped up and Ken wasn't to happy about it. He did not want the Festival to go on but I felt it was a good thing and had to go on. Myself and Anne Bradbury went ahead and did all of the planning that would normally have been done by our entire little group. We pulled it off.

When the Primary election of 1997 ended, Ken was adamant and terribly hurt that the people voted him and the others out of office. He was hurt, angry, frustrated and carried many other negative feelings. He said that's it, I'm done, we're done, it's done, no more festivals. The announcement was made by Kenny, not by me and then the "stuff" hit the fan. Many organizations were upset because when we ran it, there were dozens of non profit organizations involved and they needed the source of revenue to do what it is they did. One person in particular, Mae McHugh who ran the ILGWU retiree organization was very close to us personally and she called us very upset. We received several other calls from other groups who had the same concerns. Several of us had a meeting at the Victorian Inns and after much discussion, it was decided that we would conduct one more festival in August of 1997 and then turn over our equipment, plans, etc to the organization started by the Lombardo group. Ken Scaz met with the media that evening and made the announcement that there would be a festival in August.

So my friend, that is the real story and the true history of my retirement and the conditions under which the actual Tomato Festival INC conducted the last festival. We conducted 14 festival and the current group has done 12 as of this past August. The only difference is that we catered to non profit organizations and now there are far fewer clubs and organizations involved but Pittston does have the Pittston tomato Festival.

So your concerns about my attitude and my temperament are nothing as you paint them. I did not end the festival but I can tell you that I could not have possibly put it together a second time without the help we had. Once was enough.

PoorRichard said...

Part 3

As for my retirement, I can tell you that doctor Joe Lombardo, the Mayor elect's father was one of the doctors who advised the City's Retirement Board I needed to leave my position. He also told his son and the others that they should back off me because the state of my health in 1998 was such that I would most likely be dead within two years. Without the weight of running the city and making every decision and solving every problem lifted from me, I was able to work my way through the problems and I am now what I once was. I think that anyone who watches the LuLac debate would agree that I'm as sharp today as I ever was. It is also important to note that I would never consider running for the office of Commissioner because my work ethic would put me right back to where I was. As Controller, I only have to point out the problems, not solve them. If I have an idea or two (which I do), I can present them and the Commissioners can take them or leave them with no further worry on my part.

I honestly don't know what else I can say via this blog to sell my current physical and mental condition as being capable to handle the responsibilities of the Controller's office. For the people to not elect me for any reason other than their lack of faith in my abilities is a real shame and an injustice to the office.

If I thought for one minute that I could not handle the job or the responsibilities of the office for the entire four year term, I can assure you that I would not be a candidate and I certainly would not have chosen the very difficult path of being an Independent.

It's very difficult to try and explain anything as complicated as the political beating I took a dozen years ago and to try to explain in 2009 the misconceptions of the 2007, 2008 and 2009 events. I'm sure you watched me in action during the LuLac debate and some aslo during the League of Women Voter's debate and if after seeing that you think I'm not the most powerful candidate in the race then there is nothing more I can do or say to convince you otherwise. When I got up this morning and finished my morning routine, the guy in the mirror was very happy with the guy on the other side. I've given this thing my all and it was easy to do because I believe in myself. If I can't get you to believe in me then I guess I just didn't work as hard as I thought I did. On Tuesday, you do what you think is best for you and best for the future of Luzerne County and I will do the same. I appreciate all who have defended my efforts as well as all who have expressed a desire to see me in the Controller's office and if I am successful, I will prove to the doubters that I am what I say I am and I will do what I say I will do.

If you took the time to read all of this, thank you. I only wish I could have the time to sit with each and every one who want the inside scoop on my last 12 years and give a better exlanation.

Anonymous said...

Spending hours posting on a blog won't get you a win.

Anonymous said...

From the voter results - it appears your readership has a heavy GOP tilt.

Anonymous said...

Wow I never knew the Wil Toole was synonymous with Jesus Christ. What a martyr you are Mr. Toole.

I am definitely going with the worst of 3 evils, the Dem on this one.

I so wanted to vote for a republican, but can not vote Walter. This guy has demonstrated over and over again that his need for attention is so great he is willing to spend money to get it.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Toole the travails of running a city gov't when you were younger almost killed you, what the position of County Controller going to do to you now that you are a fat old man?

Don Williams said...


Please rise above this (mostly) classless fray. The anonexperts aren't worth any more of your valuable time.

Anonymous said...

Good advise from Don Williams. I feel it is important to respond to negative comments, especially this close to the election. Hang in there Wil, I honestly feel your reply to Anon 12:22 was well thought out and an outstanding explanation of more distorted facts and sly attempt to discredit you. I've done my own research and what I've learned earned you my vote and that of my family. I think you have stayed above the ususal dirty campaign bullshit and tried to address every issue possible. You're quality man, real quality.

Anonymous said...

I wonder when real issues will ever matter. I'm sitting here listening to Corbett beat up on judicial candidates who have their wives doing commercials. WTF is wrong with him and even more, his boss. This guy needs to go the way of Uncle Fred. But anyway, I'm sick of the petty BS that these mindless Anon's continue to muck up what could be a good dialogue. Issues simply play no part in these very intelligent comments so here we go again with the pea brains selecting our elected officals. Just look at the above poll, I know these type polls are BS but regardless, 16 of 25 people thought it a good idea to vote for a mechanic to be the county's auditor and he didn't know the COntroller was allowed to do audits. OMG!

Austin said...

I'm a progressive populist and I am voting for Griffith.

Wilkes Barre Dems said...

to Wil Toole: Let me be completely honest with you guy, there was so much bad in the air about you but to be even more honest I never knew the facts. You have taken the time to respond to any and all attacks sent your way, unlike the other fellows. After much discission with my Wife and my one son who is now old enought to vote (first time voter) We have decided to vote for you sir, and it is in no small part due to the Debate video, Times Leader interview, and very much your responses to the mud slinging. If nothing else your letters to the edditor over the years have always reminded me that you were one sharp guy, now I have a chance to vote for you. So if it is of any comfort your long but informative writings have earned you the votes of my family. Good luck to you Sir, and I know i don't have to say this but If you don't win i sure hope you keep taking the county to task.

Funny Guy said...

Anon 9:53am, Toole is fat, bug Griffith is ugly and Toole can lose weight. :)~ sorry if i made a joke out of a really stupid comment. Remember what that comedien said "you can't fix stupid" That is aimed at the comment not at candidates, i have more repect than that.

Anonymous said...

The comment was in response to Toole's past health and it is legit. If stress in the past, when he was young, almost killed him' it is fair to ask what the strss will do to a health comromised, older, obese individual. It may have been worded crudely, but since Toole has used it in a response it is faie game

PoorRichard said...

OK, One more final last time. I will give one more shot at trying to make clear something that happened almost 15 years ago. But I also want to make it clear that this persistent nagging of the same question is put forward by the same individual and always intended to keep the real focus, the important focus off of the critical position of County Controller. The author of these obsessive questions could care less if the voters put a baboon in the Controller's office just so that it isn't Wil Toole in the office.

But, in good faith that there may be one person who reads this blog and has not had the opportunity for explanation, I'll attempt to lay it out this last time.

I was an absolute workaholic. I was in my office every evening till at least 7 to 9 O'clock. My hours of work were verifiable because city hall had 24 hour desk clerks 7 days per week. I worked just about every weekend during my entire time with the City. I mentioned one horrible memory that my mother took a fatal stroke on Veterans Day 1991 and instead of being home with her, I took the call at my office. I did not take full weeks off for vacation but I did take several long weekends to fish the Thousand Islands. I called the office each and every day I was away and I did paper work in the evenings. That's simply the way it was. I previously explained that the doctor said that because of the rigorous schedule I worked for so many years, I was lucky to leave with a stress problem and not a heart attack or stroke. So the preceding explanation is the last time I will respond to this nonsense. I have said on the record that I would never consider running for county Commissioner because that would be going back to where I was. As Controller, it is my job to point out the problems and if per chance I have a solution or two drifting around in my head, I will be happy to share it but if the Commissioners are not interested then that's their decision and I will simply carry on with my duties of making certain there are no more debit card type problems in Luzerne County. If this does not clear the air then I encourage you to seek the same advise that allowed me to recover from the over stress.

Anonymous said...

memo to wil toole - if the that explanation is not good enough then keep that old saying in mind. For your firends, no explanation is necessary and for your enemies, not is good enough. Screw the asshole that continues those personal insults and thinks he is scoring points by casting stones. Personally, I think the jerk has pushed people toward you rather than away because you refuse to hide from the accusations andd try to explain stright forward and no bullshit. The election is 3 days away and I doubt very much that there is anyone who reads political blogs who have not made up their mind. We know who we want for judge, we know who we want to retain or not retain and we know which row officers we plan to vote for. I am one person and I don't presume to control my wife or two kids, they have their own minds and they can read. So speaking for myself and only myself, I will proudly vote for Wil Toole and hope that I can be there when he takes the oath of office. I want Wil Toole's clear head in the people's business of the county government. Tom G.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:36

Wil Toole has a clear head alright. It is totally clear as in no brains. Wil Toole is only interested in getting the position so he can get another disability check I.E. Go on sick leve and collect the next 4 years..This guy is bad for Luzerne County..Look at how arrogant he is and the way he belittles people that disagree with him..Think my man think.

Anonymous said...

where was Wil Toole when the County was going to borrow 16 million dollars..Nowhere to be found..Where was Will Toole when the Debit Card issue came where to be found. Where was Wil Toole when the reassesement was done and people were hurting and loosing their homes because of a bad contract. No Where to be found.. Now its time to get a position on the ballot and Wil
Toole appears as the savior of the county..this Guy is a political Hack with a lifetime of Political friends and cant be trusted. If he will change his party in February 2009 and didnt even circulate his own petition to get on the ballot that speaks vlumes about this guy and dont forget that Terry Best, the political hack from pittston is also supporting this guy which should be reason enough not to vote for him..

Anonymous said...

Children, your not playing nice and I would like to see your tongues because your telling fibs. Obviously you did not look at Wil Toole's campaign web site or you would see that over the years, he has offered more solutions to problems than any other candidate. In fact, the other candidates have never offered any solutions. There are three running for Controller, the Democrat has never attended meetings, has never written letters to the editor and has only concerned himself with earning a living. The Republican attends meetings and simply criticizes. Where are his ideas? He said, don't borrow money to pay the end of year expenses, offered no alternatives and in the end said, OK, borrow the money, there is nothing else you can do. Give me a break! The Independent candidate has offered many solutions and I took the time to read his web site where they are printed and placed on the front page for all to read. The people who throw personal stones at him really need help and should spend some time on their knees asking their god, if they have one, to clean up their thoughts and if their Christians, to ask God to please forgive them for their character assassinations. Go ahead, make my day, go to his web site and then apologize for being an asshole.
Just for the record, if I want my car fixed, I'll might go to Griffith, If I'm looking for a pension plan, I might go to Morgan and if I want the county fixed, I will definitely go to Toole. And speaking of getting a car fixed, isn't it strange that Griffith has not had a helper for over five years? Is he that bad a mechanic that he has not had enough business in the past five years that he would need some help? Does he have so few customers that he can close his garage several times a week to attend meetings? He said he could easily live on $36,000 and he could find people to qualified auditors to work for $22,000 and all this does he to convince me that he cannot earn a decent living as a mechanic and desperately needs the $36,000 Controller's salary. There are a lot of truths to be told but they are not coming from the Griffith/Morgan camps. The only problem I see is that Toole does not have a "camp", he is his own man and is running his own campaign. He has not asked his old friends for physical help or asked for they money. As he says, he is for the most part, self financed and does not want physical or financial help from politicians. He will not owe a single IOU but how many will Griffith and Morgan owe? Toole has put up so now it is time for the others to shut up. I don't blame him one bit for ignoring you idiots.