Lackawanna County Row Offices Out?

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SCRANTON -- Mary Rinaldi is Lackawanna County's Clerk of Judicial Records. She's been elected to the post three times and had planned to run again when her term is up in 2016. But, that's now in question.

Lackawanna County Commissioners got the ball rolling on a plan to eliminate the Clerk of Judicial Records job, and also the Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds. They also want to make the County sheriff an appointed position.

Commissioners say it will save taxpayers from paying those salaries. And since some offices would consolidate, make working with the County easier too.

"Making our county stronger, more efficient, and more streamlined. Elimination of these county row offices will save taxpayers, conservatively, $1 million over five years," said Commissioner Corey O'Brien at a meeting Wednesday.

Mary Rinaldi says the move wasn't a surprise, consolidating offices has often been a hot topic in Lackawanna County.

"That's a change, a re-do in government. So, for someone to be appointed to that position, for someone to take over that job that encompasses three offices, well, you know, there's a lot to learn," Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi said what's unsettling about the commissioner's proposal is that voters would lose the opportunity to pick who runs some county offices.

It will eventually be up to voters to decide what happens to Mary Rinaldi's job and the other row offices. But, Rinaldi said she thinks ultimately people will vote with their pocketbooks.

"I feel the electorate out there is going to vote yes for it," she added.

Commissioners first need to pass legislation to allow the referendum to be on a ballot. If it passes, Lackawanna County residents can vote on the matter in the May 21st primary election.