Disclaimer: Letters to the Editor express the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of WBIG ownership, management or staff.
While campaigning for a seat on Luzerne County Council, I promised not to raise taxes. On Saturday, February 15, 2014, I kept my word. I voted to eliminate an 8 percent county tax increase that was passed by the previous council in December 2013.
The hired county manager, Mr. Lawton, admitted he did not take time to review the line-by-line budget proposal I submitted to him and other members of council. Mr. Lawton insulted me. After being chastised by Wilkes-Barre resident Betsy Summers for his unprofessional comments, he attempted to make an apology.
Ms. Summers reminded Mr. Lawton of his employment duties, as he works for the citizens and answers to council. She recommended a permanent letter be placed in Mr. Lawton’s employee file documenting his unprofessional, disrespectful behavior.
Mr. Lawton suggested I wanted to eliminate essential programs. That is not true. Mr. Lawton admitted he did not take the time to review the spending reductions. He did not even attempt to look at the non-essential spending. Mr. Lawton did not make any effort to communicate and work on these proposals.
Mr. Lawton’s behavior at previous meetings has also included denials of information in regard to access to financial data by council members. He has also blocked council members from the New World financial data system.
I am asking for equal access to all financial data so council can make informed decisions about the use of your tax dollars.
To ensure council has this information I demand the elected officials be given access to this data. Let’s keep it honest.
There are hundreds of thousands of dollars in management and consulting fees scattered throughout the Luzerne County budget. There is no explanation provided on why this money is needed or how it will be used.
I will continue to fight and stand up for the residents of our county. I will continue to demand honest accountability and professional behavior from the hired county manager, Mr. Lawton.
Luzerne County Council Member