NEW 911, VOTE OFFICE CHIEFS HAVE SKREPENAK’S BACKING

Wilkes-Barre, Times-Leader

By JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES

Wednesday, April 07, 2004     Page: 1A

WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Commissioner Chairman Greg Skrepenak has faith that the newly appointed acting directors of 911 and Voter Services will perform well enough to permanently head the departments.

“I put my confidence in both men, and eventually I’d like to see them take over as directors of their agencies,” Skrepenak said.

He refers to acting Voter Services Director Leonard Piazza, and acting 911 Director Alan Pugh.
Commissioners fired former Voter Services Director Kevin Jordan, former 911 Director Norbert O’Donnell, and two other employees on Friday morning.

Commissioners say they plan to vote unanimously to formalize the terminations at 10 a.m. today during their regular public meeting.

Pugh and Piazza, who were deputy directors of 911 and Voter Services, will be immediately put to the test, Skrepenak said.

Piazza will handle the April 27 primary election, and Pugh will oversee installation of a new computer-aided dispatching system scheduled to be up and running this summer, Skrepenak said.

“Both have their hands full going into the job,” Skrepenak said.

He said Pugh has “extensive” knowledge of 911 and “has the support of his employees.”
Several 911 telecommunicators met with a reporter Monday morning to issue statements on behalf of many of their coworkers.

They say 99 percent of the workers respect Pugh, and hope commissioners keep him in place because he’s accessible, decisive, fair and interested in their input.

The telecommunicators also stressed that they appreciate that commissioners fired three 911 employees for performance reasons. And there’s room for more cuts in the department, they added.

“What they did was phenomenal, but there’s still a lot more dead wood down there that they can get rid of,” said one representative.

The workers said they didn’t want their names published at this time because of the shaky climate at the center.

Further cuts throughout the county are guaranteed, Skrepenak said.

“We’re continually trying to identify the waste and move forward,” he said.

Skrepenak said he believes Piazza has the respect of his workers.

“Len understands the system. He’ll be tested real quick because we have a primary coming up. He’ll be baptized by fire, so to speak,” Skrepenak said.

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