School Closings And Delays

Watchdog Against Fraud Resigns, Reopens Auto Repair Shop

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WILKES-BARRE – An elected Luzerne County official charged with illegally recording closed-door meetings and conference calls is stepping down this week.

The attorney for Walter Griffith said that the County Controller emailed in his letter of resignation this week, as negotiations continue with state prosecutors about a possible plea deal on the wiretapping case.

Griffith told Newswatch 16 on Tuesday afternoon that he cannot comment about the case against him, but that he is reopening his auto repair shop on Main Street in Nanticoke.

Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley said that an interim County Controller should be hired before the end of the month, and that person will work until the person who is elected in November, starts their term.

"Financial, performance, management audits, contract audits, so there’s a lot of responsibility with that office. Those responsibilities have to be completed between now and the end of the year,” said McGinley. “The public elected him for that office. It’s unfortunate that he has to resign.”

McGinley said the salary for County Controller will nearly double in 2014, to about $65,000 annually.

People who still support Griffith told Newswatch 16 that they are disappointed that he will not fight the charges in court and run for re-election.

“He delved into anything that was suspicious and I think he did an excellent job,” said Ed O’Malley of Nanticoke. “I’m in support of him. I voted for him and I would vote for him again.”

Other taxpayers said that they’re glad Griffith is stepping down.

"It seems like there`s a corruption incident every day that appears on the news. Just over and over again. It`s a shame that we cannot clear it up,” said Glen Woodeshick of Nuangola.

A spokesman said the Attorney General’s office does not have a comment about a possible plea deal for the wiretapping case.