Luzerne County desperately seeking a Republican to serve on election board

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - | February 26th, 2016 4:18 pm

Luzerne County government desperately needs a Republican to serve on the county election board, officials said.

With only two months before the April 26 primary election, the five-person election board is down two members. The board must oversee elections, including preparations involving polling places and the ballot.

The county’s home rule charter requires two Republicans and two Democrats, with a fifth member of any political party selected by the other four board members instead of the county council.

The terms of a Democrat, Republican and the member picked by the other four expired Jan. 24 and Feb. 20, and the three were not interested in reappointment.

The council voted Tuesday to appoint Michael Mey to the Democrat seat but had no eligible Republicans, said Councilman Tim McGinley, who chairs the council committee that publicly interviews applicants.

The two existing election board members — Paul DeFabo and Gerald Hudak — have been awaiting the appointment of the other two to select the fifth member, McGinley said.

The county council members had planned to fill the vacant Republican seat last month but learned the lone applicant was ineligible under the charter because he had served as a judge of election. McGinley had urged interested citizens to apply last month.

Citizens also are needed to serve on other boards, including the Forty Fort Airport Advisory Board and Mental Health and Developmental Services Program Advisory Board, McGinley said Friday.

The council appointed John Loyack to the county Industrial Development Authority Tuesday but had no applicants for two other vacant seats on that authority board.

Interested citizens may obtain applications on the boards/authorities/commissions link at

The council voted Tuesday on several appointments:

• Agency on Aging Advisory Board — Lori Herman and William Lewis

• Luzerne County Community College Board of Trustees — Sheila Saidman and Paul Halesey

• Recreational Facilities Advisory Board — Carol Hussa

• Board of Tax Assessment Appeals — Cornelius Allen and Richard Long

County Councilman Stephen A. Urban was the lone vote against Halesey’s reappointment to the community college board. Urban said he believes someone new should be appointed because Halesey has served nearly 20 years.

Four of the 11 council members opposed Hussa’s reappointment, saying she is actively involved in some organizations that received and may continue to receive county natural gas recreation funding. Supporters of her appointment said the council — not the recreational advisory board — ultimately decides which entities receive the recreation funding.

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

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