Pedri reflects on his tenure as Luzerne County Director
While still officially in office for two more weeks, Luzerne County Director C. David Pedri publicly said goodbye at his last County Council meeting on Tuesday.
“What a privilege it has been to serve in this capacity,” said Pedri, who has accepted a supervisory position from the Luzerne Foundation. “Having the opportunity to work in my home country, where I choose to raise my children, has been the highlight of my career. “
When he took up the post of second permanent county director under national self-government “five years ago in the short and long term,” Pedri said he indicated that the county was moving into the second. phase of the personalized government structure that came into effect in 2012.
The first was former manager Robert Lawton and the initial 11-member board “bringing us through the crisis” of implementing the rule changes at home, he said.
During his tenure, Pedri said he worked with the board to fix “our financial house”, end deficits and achieve the highest credit score in county history – an A- from Standard. & Poor’s.
Job creation is “through the roof,” as employers “die for workers,” he said.
Real estate is being ripped off in response, Pedri said. As proof, he later said five people separately approached his family to make offers to buy them as they recently cleaned the residence of a deceased relative in Hazleton, without any sales signs.
The county has also addressed many neglected maintenance needs, replacing boilers and roofs, restoring the historic courthouse and repairing some roads and bridges, he said.
“We replaced the courthouse’s electrical equipment from the 1950s Frankenstein Panel with a modern panel,” Pedri told council. “Anyone who owns a home knows that an ounce of prevention avoids a pound of trouble, and we’ve been doing these things now so that act three can now come into play.”
Pedri said he is now handing the ball over to the council and the next county manager. Chief lawyer Romilda Crocamo was appointed interim director on Tuesday, and the board plans to nominate volunteer citizen candidates to a new director search committee next week.
He also congratulated the division heads and the rest of the workforce. The council members he has worked with, critical or not, “are trying to do the best thing for the county,” he said.
“We didn’t agree on everything, but we agreed on a lot, and we’ve accomplished so much here,” Pedri told the board.
In a follow-up interview on Wednesday, Pedri said he did not view his relationship with the board as controversial and said most of his proposals were approved.
“We have accomplished a lot in the past five years, and we couldn’t do it without cooperation,” said the 41-year-old resident of Butler Township. “For the most part, they supported me. Of course, I won’t get everything I want. What executive does he do? “
He began considering a career change after the board rejected increases for non-union workers in the 2021 budget, saying he believed increases were deserved for workers who “committed suicide” by supporting operations throughout the coronavirus pandemic. That said, he stressed that he understands that council members rightly have their own views and priorities on what is best for the county.
The hardest part of the job, he said, is keeping tabs on 1,400 employees in more than 30 departments who provide services to more than 320,000 residents in a county the size of Rhode Island.
“It’s a small company,” Pedri said.
Initially, he loaded as a manager, with the intention of quickly making changes “everywhere”. Over time, he said he learned to surround himself with “a few great managers” and rely more on their feedback and specialist expertise to make incremental improvements that often lead to bigger ones. He recommends this approach to his successor, but cautioned that it is still crucial to maintain a “full understanding” of finances and operations and to be prepared to explain them to the public.
One regret is not being there to help decide how the county will use its $ 112.89 million US bailout allocation, he said.
This funding will be an opportunity for the next manager and board to “have a huge impact on our community,” said Pedri. More detailed federal rules on how the money can be spent are expected in August, and the administration plans to present a proposal to council for consideration and approval. Some board members have also started to come up with their own ideas on how the money should be spent.
Pedri also wants the county to have fewer electoral problems, although he believes the county is on the path to continuous improvement in this area.
Looking back, Pedri said he will always remember the awe he saw on faces when the restored courthouse rotunda was unveiled, with thousands of residents enjoying the ‘Rockin’ the concert series. River ”he co-founded at River Common and positive reactions from citizens. on the direction of the county.
“I think my job was to leave the county better than I found it and to start planning for the future of success,” said Pedri. “I just feel like Luzerne County is about to be in a position where it’s really going to be successful.”