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Luzerne County Council votes against home rule study commission proposal

The meeting Tuesday night discussed whether a question should be put on the ballot allowing voters to decide whether to change the county's form of government.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — With a total of three yeses and eight nos, Luzerne County Council did not adopt a motion that could've allowed voters to change the county's current home rule government when they vote in the May 16 primary elections.

Certain members of council looked to approve a government study commission.

"I don't believe the argument and the adage of let's just take a turn down the road another seven months and live in this deficient charter with all its flaws for another seven months," said Stephen Urban, Luzerne County Council.

It would've also given residents the chance to decide whether to keep the current system or go back to the county's previous three-commissioner system.

Residents and county officials spoke out either for or against it.

"You're doing well. You could have your differences again, you could have your challenges here in the county, but when you look at the big picture, it's working," said Rick Morelli, Sugarloaf.

"My submission to you is there are too many changes, that this decision needs to go on the ballot, and it's our job to convince the people. The changes that need to be made," said Sam Sanguedolce, Luzerne County District Attorney.

"And like I said, a pros and cons list of both types of government would really shed some light on whether this is the right thing to do or not," said Jamie Walsh, Sweet Valley.

With no change coming as of now, county officials will look to make adjustments to the current system.

If this fails, they will look into having another vote to offer county residents a chance to change the government again in the November general elections.

"I just don't think it's worth the risk without any of us even trying to amend the charter ourselves. If we are not able to do this, I will be leading the charge for November," said Carl Bienias, Luzerne County Council.

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