Luzerne County Council Candidates Hold a Forum

There is something profound happening in Luzerne County as a new kind of politics is emerging. This new style of politics will profoundly influence the county, probably the state of Pennsylvania, and perhaps the entire country. This is politics as I have never seen it before. The only thing that matters now is doing the right thing and making the system work for everyone. Party labels do not matter, male and female do not matter, political philosophies whether it be liberal or conservative do not matter anymore. That is the distinct impression I came away with after watching the candidates for the new Luzerne County Council discuss the issues. None of the candidates emphasized their party affiliation and they all said they would work with anyone to improve the government for everyone.

Reporting on the Problem

We have been reporting on corruption in Luzerne County and we continue to cover it as long as it is a problem. We have discussed the issue of Home Rule and if that new form of government is part of the answer in Luzerne County. Home Rule was eventually approved by the voters. After watching the candidates perform in public, it appears that we have made a significant start.

The Forum

The County Boroughs and Townships Association invited candidates for the new Luzerne County Council to a panel discussion at Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre. The candidates commented on their credentials, why they are running and what they hope to accomplish while in office. Here is a synopsis of what they said.

Jim Bobeck said we need a good team on council. He is concerned about the economic efficiency in government. He supports the regional approach to government and noted that cooperative agreements between several local municipal governments lowers the cost of government.

Ed Brominski is a former teacher and county commissioner. He knows all the candidates running for the council and said they are getting involved so their grand children can be proud of them.

Elaine Curry served on the Hazelton Area School Board from 2002 to 2009, and in 2008 she served as president of the school board. She said this was important service as the school district is as big as Luzerne County in terms of employees and budget. She has a history of fighting nepotism and cronyism and she removed school board members from hiring new teachers. It is a new beginning in Luzerne County and she wants to be a part of it.

Kathy Dobash said she represents the people, and not the special interests. She believes government can improved if the county works together with the various local governments.

Joyce Dombroski-Gebhardt is concerned about fiscal responsibility. She has a plan to balance the budget with no new taxes by reducing the number of county employees through attrition and a hiring freeze.

Harry Haas supports bipartisan government and wants to end politics as usual. He wants to establish a dialog with the townships and boroughs and improved the county’s ties to these local governments.

Charlie “Bible Buck” Hatchko said his main objective is to establish an honest government in Luzerne County. To fight the deficit, he would not give any county employee a raise and freeze their wages at the current levels.

Eugene Kellehar is running because this is an opportunity for a new beginning. He wants to end nepotism and cronyism and is willing to cooperate with others in government. He wants eleven good people on the council who will change the county for the better.

Mike Lacey wants public virtue. He supports bipartisan government and believes principles are more important than party politics. He wants to turn Luzerne County back to the original principles of self government as envisioned by the Founding Fathers, and believes Luzerne County can be a light to the nation.

Sal Licata commended all the other candidates who are running, and he plans to work with the other candidates. He has worked with many different people on governing boards, and he will do the same in Luzerne County.

Timothy McGinley said the candidates are a great group to meet and he wants to work with the towns and boroughs to make things better in Luzerne County. He wants to be part of a team and believes it is a chance to start over.

Timothy Mullen is a taxpayer advocate and a fiscal conservative, who is against any new taxes. He wants to put a brake on government at every level, and stressed that we need to make sacrifices to get our house in order. He wants to end nepotism and cronyism in Luzerne County.

Rick Morrelli spent the last two and a half years of his life working on the study commission and the transition team in Luzerne County. He has experience in government and knows where to cut the budget. He wants transparency in government.

Jeremy Packard is running as we must live with this new form of government which was just established. It is imperative that the new government is successful. He wants to make sure that the county council hires the best possible county manager.

Eileen Sorokas wants an honest and responsible government. Good government comes about when good people get involved.

Steve Urban is a current commissioner in Luzerne County. He thanked the community for the opportunity to serve during the last twelve years. Urban said he was against the nepotism from the beginning. He said when his relatives lost their jobs they did not ask him for help as they knew his policy. He said the county is in debt as those who served before him did not have the courage to vote for reassessment. He took on the tough issue and got reassessment approved in Luzerne County and now the county has a modern tax base to work with. He was against the new juvenile detention center which led to so much corruption in Luzerne County.

Rick Williams is willing to ignore party politics, and said government is no longer about party politics. He wants the new county council to come together, gather information, and then vote their conscience.

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