County Will Pay $3,800 State Lien, Then Probe Why It Was Filed

November 30, 2018

Lackawanna County officials are probing why a state department filed a $3,800 lien against the county earlier this week, though the county will pay off the debt in the meantime.

The state Department of Labor and Industry on Monday filed a $3,800.22 lien against the county for unpaid unemployment compensation contributions. The filing surprised county officials who, upon investigating the matter, found no unpaid invoices from the past two years, county Chief Financial Officer Tom Durkin said.

“We have no idea why we owe the money,” Durkin said.

County officials earlier this week suggested the lien may have been filed erroneously, but the department on Friday verified that it was not filed in error, labor and industry Deputy Communications Director Theresa Elliott wrote in an email.

Because liens can affect the county’s ability to secure grants and other forms of state funding, Durkin said the county will pay off the lien while continuing to explore why it was filed. Among other things, the county plans to ask the state why invoices weren’t received alerting the county of the debt prior to the filing of the lien, Durkin said.

County acting Chief of Staff Donald Frederickson said the $3,800 debt is an “odd number” because the county’s quarterly unemployment compensation contributions are significantly higher. The county will demand a $3,800 credit on future payments if it’s determined it didn’t owe the money after all.

Contact the writer: jhorvath@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9141; @jhorvathTT on Twitter

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