New Luzerne County election board member deemed eligible to serve

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Fairview Township resident Keith Gould is permitted to serve as both a Luzerne County election board member and Republican county committee member for his township, county Chief Solicitor Romilda Crocamo said in a written opinion Thursday.

Former county controller Walter Griffith had questioned Gould’s eligibility during Wednesday’s election board meeting, pointing to a county home rule charter ban that says board members can’t hold elective office.

Crocamo said her office reviewed the charter, election requirements, documents Gould submitted for the unpaid seat and past county practices before concluding the committee seat is not an elective public office.

The county law office had reached a similar conclusion in 2014 when a prior election board member held a Democratic county committee seat in Nanticoke. Committee members have no authority over government matters and essentially promote the political party and select some party leaders, a county official had argued at that time.

However, Crocamo said Gould must relinquish the election board seat if he files a petition to place his name on the ballot when the Republican committee seats are up for election again in 2020.

Gould said he is pleased the county reached a “sound decision.”

“I’ll be happy to serve,” he said.

Griffith sent county council members an email Thursday in support of his argument and criticizing the county’s failure to obtain a legal opinion before Gould’s appointment was made at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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