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County Council To Vote On Union Contract Tuesday

April 9, 2018

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County Council on Tuesday will vote on a proposed collective bargaining agreement with county court-related employees who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The agreement would apply to unionized employees of the Division of Judicial Records, the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office, according to a proposed resolution on the agenda for Tuesday’s county council voting session.

The previous agreement between the county and those employees has expired, the resolution states.

The terms of the agreement are not listed in the resolution or other materials included with the agenda packet.

Last month, the county administration did not release details of three collective bargaining agreements with county human services employees represented by Teamsters Local 401 until county council approved the agreements.

Councilman Stephen A. Urban voted against the agreements at council’s March 27 meeting, saying the public had a right to know the terms of the agreements before council voted on them.

County chief solicitor Romilda Crocamo told council members the agreements were still in negotiation until council ratified them, so the terms should not be released prior to the vote.

Also on Tuesday, council might appoint a citizen member to the county Accountability, Conduct and Ethics Commission, which would create an uncontested quorum for the commission and allow it to proceed with processing ethics complaints.

Republicans Marc Dixon and Alex Milanes have expressed interest in being appointed to the commission, according to Tuesday’s agenda packet. Both have run unsuccessfully for county council.

The five-member commission consists of two citizen members, one Democrat and one Republican, along with the county manager, district attorney and controller.

The county charter and the county ethics code conflict as to whether a citizen member is required to form a quorum on the commission. As of early March, both citizen seats were vacant.

Kingston resident Brian Shiner filed a complaint with the county district attorney’s office last month, stating the commission met illegally in the absence of a quorum on March 12, since no citizen member was present. At that meeting, the commission voted to hire two local attorneys to investigate ethics complaints.

At a work session following Tuesday’s voting session, council members will discuss a proposed one-year extension of the county’s contract with Correct Care Solutions, the company that supplies health care services to Luzerne County Correctional Facility.

Also on the work session agenda is a proposal to transfer $150,000 from the county reserve fund to continue the county’s contract with ADP, LLC, a private provider of payroll and human resources services. That firm will take over payroll processing for the county later this year if the contract is continued, according to county Manager David Pedri.

Council last month tabled the proposal, which has been harshly criticized by Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck.

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