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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Home Rule Top Ten

From the email inbox:

Top Ten Reasons to Vote NO to the Luzerne County Home Rule Charter
1. APPOINTED County Manager who is NOT elected by the people. Voters are being asked to vote to give up their right to choose the people who govern them.
2. County Controller’s power to stop payment of unauthorized invoices is ELIMINATED and the Controller’s Solicitor is ELIMINATED.
3. ELEVEN MEMBER County Council is not elected by district which will result in concentration of power in the most populated areas. Small cities, boroughs, and townships will NOT be adequately represented. Also, NO provisions for minority party representation on County Council.
4. County Council term limits create the situation where Council Members in their last term have no reason not to raise Council salary… they have NOTHING TO LOSE. County Council can raise their own pay at any time WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL. Multiply each Council pay raise by 11.
5. County Manager is NOT required to put any contracts UNDER $25,000 out to public bid. The current County purchasing policy requires that ALL CONTRACTS OVER $7,500 be placed out to public bid and be voted on IN PUBLIC. County Manager also has the ability to remove money from any unencumbered budget item without approval of County Council.
6. Although the Government Study Commission claims to promote strong ethics, they appointed themselves to a "TRANSITION TEAM" that empowers them to DRAFT ORDINANCES and SCREEN and RECRUIT the County Manager and ALL key management employees.
7. We have NO IDEA how much this new form of government will cost. Taxpayers will foot the bill no matter the cost and will be told that this is what they asked for.
8. NO PUBLIC VOTE required for MOST CONTRACTS and NO PUBLIC VOTE required for most hiring. The County Manager has supreme power over all operations without any restrictions or oversight and NO ACCOUNTABILITY TO THE TAXPAYERS..
9. Citizens have NO REALISTIC ability to amend the charter. In order to amend the charter, citizens would have to secure almost TEN THOUSAND signatures of registered voters on a petition just to get the question on the ballot. A candidate for Pennsylvania Governor or US Senator is only required to secure 2,000 signatures… STATEWIDE.
10. HOME RULE LAW provides NO RESTRICTION on how much Council can raise taxes despite what voters are being told by supporters of the charter. See 53 Pa.C.S.A. Section 2962(b). See also, Musewicz v. Cordaro, 925 A.2d 172 (2006 Pa.Cmwlth).

And the top reason...the lack of corruption in this county.



Anonymous said...

I watched tonight's home rule debate, and I can still be convinced to vote YES, but I'm still leaning NO, and the YES side didn't convince me tonight.

Saying "It's not the current system" isn't enough. I don't like creating a big "County Board" with a manager who is beholden to a 6 person majority, and make no mistake, that majority will materialize and make sure the manager does what he or she is told.

I still don't see where there are any more safeguards that the new system will be any less corruptible than what we currently have. Until Mayor Haggerty and his side can tell me that, without pointing fingers like he did tonight, I have to vote NO to this charter.

Anonymous said...

The County Home Rule is a Pie in the Sky dream with very little Checks and Balances.
Please read the Charter and pay close attention to the part where the County Manager can borrow money with a Tax Anticipation Note and does not need Council approval and he doesnt have to tell anyone till after he gets the Loan..WOW now there is a great idea..Section 2:12 is the section of the Charter /, read it for the truth..