Luzerne County Council filling numerous seats on outside boards

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -
Kelleher -

Seventeen vacant citizen seats on Luzerne County government boards, authorities and commissions are set to be filled Tuesday, including five on the county Community College Board of Trustees and three on the authority overseeing the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township, county council’s agenda says.

One of the seats on the 15-member community college board opened because Sheila Saidman had to resign before taking office as a county councilwoman last week. Her replacement will serve on the board through 2021.

The other four expired seats are currently filled by Joan Blewitt, John Bryan, Elaine Cook and Barry Williams.

Blewitt and Bryan have submitted applications seeking reappointment to the unpaid seats. The four appointed to the seats will serve through 2023.

The three open seats on the 11-member arena oversight board, which is officially called the county Convention Center Authority, are filled by Donna Cupinski, Barry Payne and Alex Milanes. All three have applied for reappointment.

Nine other citizens interested in the seats were previously publicly interviewed and placed on an eligibility list, which has been posted on council’s Authorities, Boards and Commissions Committee page at

Council Vice Chairman Eugene Kelleher, who heads the committee, said the list of prospective applicants for some seats will grow before council’s Tuesday vote because the committee is scheduled to publicly interview approximately 25 interested citizens starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday at the courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

The county received around 30 applications for board seats last month, said council Chairman Tim McGinley.

A vacant seat on the following also will be filled by council Tuesday:

• Area Agency on Aging Advisory Board

• Farmland Preservation Board

• Children and Youth Advisory Board

• Flood Protection Authority

• Transportation Authority

• Planning Commission

• Redevelopment Authority

• Convention and Visitors Bureau Board

• Zoning Board

Additional expired seats on some boards, authorities and commissions must be addressed at future meetings, council members have said.

For example, there are six vacant seats on the Forty Fort Airport Advisory Board and will be five left on the Children and Youth Advisory Board after one is filled Tuesday. The Aging board appointment still leaves seven open seats, according to council records. All five seats on the Northeastern PA Hospital & Higher Education are vacant.

Council also will vote Tuesday to select a council member to serve on the county Retirement Board, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Bi-County Board, the Luzerne Conservation District Board, the state transportation department’s transit consolidation work group and the Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Parks Committee.

As the new chairman, McGinley also has a seat on the retirement board and airport bi-county board. McGinley said he will serve on the airport board and has not determined if he will appoint a council designee for the retirement board.

McGinley said he also wants to establish a council committee to draft proposed revisions to the county’s ethics, personnel and administrative codes.


By Jennifer Learn-Andes

If you go

Luzerne County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the county courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

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

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