Wednesday, March 18, 2009

We Need The Committee Of Seventy In Luzerne County

Let me introduce you to the Committee of Seventy.

The Committee of Seventy fights for clean and effective government, fair elections and a better informed citizenry in Philadelphia and the region.

We’re known for our election-day oversight programs, but we work year-round to keep elected officials honest and encourage positive change in local government. Our staff publishes information about important policies and public officials. We requests public hearings -- and send our experts to testify -- on topics ranging from Philadelphia campaign finance to the way Pennsylvania judges are selected. Our policy papers, news alerts and web resources help keep the public, the media and government informed about key issues.

The Philadeplphia Daily News reports "'Seventy'calls for ending 6 row offices."

The Committee of Seventy, a non-partisan civic group, called yesterday for the abolition of six elective city row offices, suggesting their work should be handled by other city agencies.

The offices are the Clerk of Quarter-Sessions, responsible for much of the court system's record-keeping; the City Commissioners, a three-person panel in charge of the city's election machinery; the Register of Wills, whose office records wills and estates, collects inheritance taxes and issues marriage licenses, and the city Sheriff, whose portfolio includes courtroom security, transporting prisoners, serving warrants and auctioning real estate on which taxes or mortgage payments are delinquent.

"After studying these offices carefully . . . we found no reason why the offices need to be elected," said Zachary Stalberg, Seventy's president and CEO.

Its report, titled "Needless Jobs: Why Six Elected City Positions Should Die," estimated that the city could save at least $1 million a year in salaries and perks now paid to the elected officials.

So the question I have is "Who Is Looking Out For Luzerne County Taxpayers?" If Philadelphia does not need a Register of Wills with the size of its population what makes Luzerne County feel it NEEDS one? Jill Moran was habitually known for not being present in her office as Prothonotary? Do we need a full time Prothonotary?
Can Luzerne County government be streamlined to eliminate certain management positions to save money? Can departments be consolidated to save the taxpayers money? Our courts seem to be taking a look at their problem, why not our Commissioners at ours?

Luzerne County Departments And Agencies

911 Emergency Services
Buildings and Grounds
Bureau of Elections
Correctional Facility
County Engineer
Emergency Management
Environmental Special Projects
Flood Protection Authority
Human Resources
Human Services
Information Technology
Luzerne County Retirement System
Office of Community Development
Planning Commission
Property and Supply
Parks and Recreation
Solid Waste Management
Tax Claim Bureau
Veterans Affairs
Workforce Investment Office

Luzerne County's Row Offices
Clerk of Courts
District Attorney
Recorder of Deeds
Register of Wills

Luzerne County Senior Staff
County Manager/Chief Clerk
Chief of Budget and Finance
Director of Human Resources

Maybe the government study commission can speak for the taxpayers.

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