According to the latest updates at both the Times Leader and the Citizens’ Voice Web sites, there was quite a bit of swearing going on at the Luzerne County courthouse today. Er, swearing-in, that is.
William Amesbury and Tina Polachek Gartley were sworn in as judges, filling a couple of big vacancies in a county now known for corrupt judges.
Judge Thomas Burke was elected president judge by his remaining judicial peers.
Carolee Medico Olenginski, this county’s preeminent political bridge-burner, was sworn in as the new prothonotary. And since she’s never been reluctant to make waves over even the most mundane of things, I’m sure she’ll be calling it as she sees it for the press for the foreseeable future. Hee, hee.
By the way, this office is about to be audited after allegations of missing funds were made. Big surprise there.
Probably most important to a taxpaying public crying for relief from the decade long bevy of property tax increases, under-the-radar piece-meal contracts, embezzlement and corruption run amok, Walter Griffith, the tireless activist and taxpayer advocate, was sworn in as the new controller.
Now that’s it’s become patently obvious that there has been very little accountability or financial wherewithal at the courthouse, this guy figures to have his hands full for some time.
But, having spent the past year in constant contact with him as the primary and general election battles played out, I happen to know he’s dead serious about proving we were right to entrust in him the responsibility, trust and faith that we did.
So, after it’s conclusion, while 2010 may not necessarily be looked upon as a good year for Luzerne County, here’s hoping it’s the beginning of a big, big comeback of sorts. And let’s hope we are repaid with some transparency, some accountability and some financial responsibility.
With that said, the persistent rumors are still swirling about pending arrests, plea agreements and the like as the ongoing corruption scandal is said to have no end in sight.
Expect some tumult and no shortage of vitriol to emanate from that courthouse as the entrenched holdovers from the fast-passing era of corruption resist change, resist accountability and resist fiscal sanity.
Strap yourselves in, kiddies. Despite the rumblings we may be hearing in the coming weeks, Luzerne County's Banana Republic status may be in jeopardy.
We can only hope.