Interim Luzerne County manager choice still up in the air

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -


    Four Luzerne County employees have expressed interest in serving as temporary manager after Robert Lawton leaves, but it’s unclear if the council will make a change from the current choice for the acting manager position.

    Lawton, who resigned effective Dec. 31, had designated county Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik as acting manager.

    The council interviewed Parsnik and three other employees who are interested in the interim post during a closed-door executive session last week, sources said: Chief Solicitor C. David Pedri, county Correctional Division Head J. Allen Nesbitt and county Engineer Greg Parrs.

    Attorney John Dean had concluded the temporary manager must be a current county employee — not someone from the outside.

    County Council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck said she removed a vote on the temporary manager from Tuesday’s council meeting agenda due to concerns from some that three new incoming council members would be shut out of the decision.

    Jane Walsh Waitkus, Eugene Kelleher and Robert Schnee will take office Jan. 4, replacing Stephen J. Urban, Rick Morelli and James Bobeck.

    However, McClosky Houck said a majority of her council colleagues have the right to seek a vote on the temporary manager Tuesday.

    If there is no vote Tuesday, the reorganized council may discuss the matter at the Jan. 4 meeting, she said.

    McClosky Houck said she believes the council should vote to designate Parsnik or someone else in the post instead of simply allowing Lawton’s acting manager designation to continue.

    The search and selection process for Lawton’s replacement is expected to take several months.

    The citizen committee that will help select the next non-interim manager held its first meeting last week and is scheduled to brief the council on its progress during Tuesday’s work session.

    Citizens Carmen Ambrosino, Gene A. Camoni, Robert E. Fisher, Gerard O’Donnell and Michael Giamber serve on the committee, which was required under the home rule charter to seek, screen and conduct initial interviews of county manager applicants before recommending finalists to the council for its consideration.

    The work session follows a 6 p.m. meeting in the council meeting room at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.

    The Jan. 4 council reorganization meeting will be at the same time and location. The council also will select a chair and vice chair at that meeting.

    McClosky Houck has been serving as chair since January and is interested in keeping the role. Brominski is vice chair.

    By Jennifer Learn-Andes

    Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

    Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

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