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More Of Your Ask The Voice Questions Answered

March 26, 2019 GMT

Here are the answers to some of the questions we’ve received as part of our Ask the Voice series:


Q: How much does the county spend yearly on the burial of “unclaimed bodies?”

A: According to the Luzerne County Coroner’s Office:

The cost to the county for each unclaimed body is $650.

The county spent $17,200 to bury unclaimed remains in 2018.

Last year, the coroner’s office handled 31 unclaimed bodies, the most ever.

This year’s budget includes $22,500 for such burials. As of March 5, the coroner’s office has handled nine unclaimed bodies, with one pending.


Q: Why does the prothonotary’s office charge to view documents?

A: The Luzerne County prothonotary’s office charges to view online documents because it costs the county money to support the online document system, said James L. Haddock, manager of the prothonotary’s office.

The fee also deters possible identity thieves from having unlimited access to public documents, he said.

Haddock noted the documents are available for free viewing in person at the Luzerne County Courthouse, as well as at the Recorder of Deeds office in the courthouse annex and at the Records Retention Building in Hanover Twp.  

Q: When a school district and teachers union go to arbitration to resolve a labor dispute/contract, who chooses and who pays the arbiter?

A: The cost is split between the school district and the union, Wilkes-Barre Area Solicitor Raymond Wendolowski said.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board has a list of arbitrators to choose from, and the parties try to mutually agree on the selection of an arbitrator, Wendolowski said.

If they can’t agree, the parties begin striking arbitrators on a list provided, with the district going first in a case in which the union filed a grievance, he explained.

Q: How much money was made from the sale at Coughlin High School a few years ago? Where did that money go? What was it used for?

A: The Wilkes-Barre Area School District received $39,885.89 by conducting of auction of items from the closed portion of Coughlin High School in April 2016, according to records received through an open-records request.

J&J Auction Service of Sheppton conducted the auction and sold 1,359 items. The top selling item was a cabinet for $1,025, but it was returned it full of asbestos.

Advertising costs associated with the auction totaled $1,391.61.