As promised Judge Mark Ciavarella has filed a lawsuit against the Luzerne County Commissioners and the Luzerne Salary Board over budget cuts approved in the 2009 county budget. When you read the pleading you will see that Ciavarella's attorneys listed him as a member of the Luzerne County Salary board. The pleading also contains the following assertions.
9. Defendants have refused to adopt and/or refused to fund in full the Court's budget request for 2009,where said budget requests are reasonable and necessary and mirror image the previously approved and funded budget of 2008 with any increase, except as detailed in avertment twelve(12) below.
12. Any increase in payroll attributable to the Court, is solely and exclusively due to union mandated collective bargaining agreement contracts that Defendant have negotiated and become legally bound to honor pursuant to and in accordance with 16 P.S. §1620.
It is time to remind his honor about a post he created in 2008 that wasn't in the original budget. He hired Sam Guesto at a salary of $78,160.00 per year for a job CREATED as a new court director. People will remember Sam Guesto as the person behind the debit card fiasco that the Secret Service recently turned over to the U.S. Attorney.
A little about Guesto from a Times Leader article. "Guesto resigned as chief clerk in February to take a newly created position as a director of specialty courts/alternative sentencing. The switch came amid a storm of controversy surrounding his involvement in an illegal piecemealing scandal at the county prison and the misuse of county debit cards."
The pleading ends with Mark Ciavarella's verification statement. "I, Mark A. Ciavarella, President Judge of the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. verify that the facts set forth within the foregoing Mandamus Complaint are true and correct, to the best of our knowledge, information and belief. I understand that false statements herein are subject to the penalties of 19 P.C.S. §4904 relating to unsworn falsifications to authorities."
An action of Mandamus is to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly. I thought Luzerne County Commissioners trying to pass a balanced budget within reasonble income expectations would be performing the duties of the office correctly.