I hope you are doing well and I apologize for not being in touch sooner. The ability of having people support me is very important as I work to make people accountable in Luzerne County Government.
The email that I am writing is to inform you about the recent issue with Len Piazza and his termination so we can be clear on the facts.
The County Controllers Office was conducting an audit of the Human Resources Department in December of 2011 and had selected 50 Departments and 374 County employees to "test" in this audit.
The Auditors started to perform a review of the accruals for Sick and Vacation and Personal time for the Bureau of Elections employees as part of the audit and found that Mr Piazza had over 350 hours of Vacation time and over 500 Hours of Sick time as accruals and the limit for this employee was 230 Hours maximum for Vacation Hours.
The Controllers Office contacted Mr Piazza and the Interim Manager, Tom Pribula, to inform him of the discrepancy and ask for better accountability of this persons time and attendance. Mr Pribula immediately informed Mr Len Piazza that he was required to use the Kronos Time Clock system by punching in and out so that there is accountability to his time, because there were claims by several people in the building, that Mr Piazza was not at his office most of the time during the working day. Mr Tom Pribula even was using the Time Clocks.
The Director of Elections, Mr Piazza, immediately came into his office and went to the County Web page and deactivated the campaign finance page on the County Web Site in retaliation to the Interim County Manager telling him to follow the same procedures as the staff in which he was charged to supervise.
The County Manager started to receive complaints from several taxpayers that were trying to use the County Web site to view Campaign Finance reports, and therefore went to the Director of Elections, Mr Piazza, and told him to reactivate the web site immediately. Mr Piazza refused and was then instructed again to reactivate the web site or he would be terminated. Mr Piazza agreed to place the web site up but didn't activate the entire Campaign Finance Page and left out the 30 Day post election campaign finance reports in order to show his power and insubordination to his boss.
The Director of Elections then proceeded to go to the office and state to the employees that he was going to get even with the Controller of the County for identifying that he was not being accountable for his time because he felt that he was not required to track his time because he was under the direction of the election board.
The Director of Elections then proceeded to draft a letter on official Board of Elections Letterhead complete with the names of the Board and Solicitor on this letter, without the Boards approval and without the Solicitors review, and send it to me as a direct retaliation for my doing the job I was elected to do for the taxpayers of this County. Mr Piazza NEVER CONDUCTED AN AUDIT OF ANY CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS IN all the years in which he was the Director of this office.
The Audit letter was sent to me on a Thursday night via email and then delivered by Fed Ex on Saturday that stated the items that were required from 2007 to present and included requests for Bank Statements and other personal paperwork which he was not authorized to request.
The Audit request was answered by my attorney stating that this request was totally out of line because the Director of Elections has no authority to audit anyone because the State Law only allows the Commonwealth of PA to perform this function and the Director of Elections was violating his duties of his office without authority.
The ability of anyone in government to use their authority to retaliate or intimidate anyone for personal gain is a violation of Federal Law and a persons Civil Rights and also violates the Public trust much like the issue with Judge Conahan and Ciavarella.
The ability of Mr Piazza to do this without authority from the Board of Elections and the Solicitor is total insubordination to his superiors as well and placed the County in a position of being sued by me or someone else for this violation which would have cost the County several thousands of dollars in legal fees.
My campaign finance reports were all submitted on time and in order since I started in the political race for City Council of Wilkes Barre City as well as for County Controller and I have nothing to hide from the office of the Bureau of Elections or the State. The reason for not showing these reports is because he has no authority to audit them and he is simply trying to intimidate and retaliate against me because he is being told he must be accountable for his time and attendance like all other County Employees, even the County Manager punches in and out.
This is the facts as to what happened to Mr Piazza. I never demanded or requested for Mr Piazza to be terminated but simply requested that he be held to the same standards as the other employees in the County that work in an office with the Time Clock System. The County Administration made the decision to terminate Mr Piazza based on the facts.
Please feel free to contact my office at 825-1629 to discuss this matter and to clarify anything that may be unclear regarding this matter.
Walter L Griffith Jr