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    "Quotes Of The Day" revisiting the
    coroner's public funded training cruise,
    anonymous sources versus credible sources
    who must remain anonymous

    "Did the county coroner ever reimburse the county for any of the
    $14,000 spent on a training cruise for him and his family he employs?"
    Pete, asking, in a Saturday evening voice mail, from the Italian
    Festival in downtown Uniontown, where he said he was in search of
    a Giuseppe sandwich  

    "Unsure, but if you want to ask for a Right To Know, please also ask
    why the reimbursement happened with a formal request containing an
    sign-off of just one commissioner, Dave Lohr, and a white out space
    where another commissioner apparently once signed.

    "Did Commissioner Vince Vicites white out his initials before or after
    the reimbursement was paid to the coroner? In case the voucher got
    lost downtown, here's a copy of it."
    Rants&Raves, forwarding to Pete via email the voucher and an
    accompanying packet of other pages this editor previously received
    through an anonymous source

    "Why didn't you publish a packet of information you said you received
    anonymously about that cruise and other concerned citizen claims?"
    Pete, curiously asking back

    "Rants&Raves likely would have published it -- or would still publish it
    in its entirety -- if the source trusted us enough to identify
    him/her/themselves with their real names that would have remained
    out of publication.

    "There was a lot more being alleged in the packet than just a training
    cruise reimbursement with one commissioner signing off in approval
    and another who removed his initials with white out from the voucher
    before or after reimbursement occurred.

    "Credibility is or can be rather quickly established if a source
    discloses his/her/their identity/identities.

    "Sending anonymous information also requires us to spend too much
    of rare spare time chasing down the same documents just to
    authenticate them.

    "Without knowing a source or his/her/their real identities and
    relevance to the situation to be confident the docs and letters are
    authentic and claims in named letters to outside investigators are
    factual, Rants&Raves won't publish the packet so redacted as it
    would have to be otherwise."

    April 28, 2018
    Or ask Vicites, Lohr to pay half
    Coroner should return
    most of the $14,366.73
    to county coffers

    RANTS that the County of Fayette allowed its
    financially strapped, meager coffers to pay a
    $14,366.73 hotel, airfare, cruise ticket for an
    elected official and staff, but has no money to
    fund additional public defenders to speed up
    inmate criminal motions and no money at all for
    some worthwhile community programs, such
    as libraries that increase our quality of life, or to
    fix a once heavily traveled, but now closed,
    small county bridge.

    RANTS that the controversy and courthouse
    whispering over the requisition form for that
    reimbursement is said to have raised upset and
    lowered employee moral in other departments.
    Total training costs for the 14 hours of training
    that each of the six coroner's office staff
    received on the seven day cruise was $2,995.

    Not that this specific $14,366.73 expense was
    approved recently at a public meeting. It wasn't.
    The reimbursement check was cut last
    December for the full amount. Commissioners
    approved non-specific training and travel
    funding at last year's budget sessions. Fayette
    County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave
    Lohr and Fayette Head Clerk Amy Revak signed
    off on the requisition form privately the
    controller's office to reimburse the full amount
    in late 2017 for the cruise training that set sail
    from Florida on January 7, 2018.

    While approval for travel and training expenses
    for elected officials is not subject to the same
    scrutiny by commissioners as expenses for
    county employees are, the coroner's cruise for
    his staff and family should not have been paid
    for from public funds. RANTS that
    commissioners thought nothing of the cost,
    paid it and never asked how related or
    appropriate the specific cruise training was to
    the jobs performed for the county.   

    RAVES of hope that the coroner reimburses the
    county for the sweet vacation, minus the
    training cost of $2,995. Certainly, the office of
    the public defender could use some more
    money, as well as the fund that needs boosted
    to fix a small county bridge closed for several
    years that affects four small Bullskin

    RANTS because there are just too, too many
    other worthy but neglected county obligations
    for Fay to be paying for a fluff cruise vacation
    that produced 14 hours of training that likely
    has not much to do with the actual work of a
    county coroner, office staff or deputy coroners.
    (28 Apr 18)

    April 25, 2018
    Vicites, Lohr approved
    $14K training cruise for
    coroner's office
    RANTS that Fayette County Commissioners
    Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr approved
    reimbursement of $14,366.73 to the county
    coroner for a seven-day Caribbean cruise
    training seminar for the coroner, chief deputy
    coroner, assistant coroners, the coroner's office
    manager and clerk.

    The cruise seminar on the Holland America ship
    was sponsored by the American Board of Legal
    Medicine, a non-profit for lawyers who are
    doctors or doctors who work within the legal
    system. The ship sailed in early January of this
    year. A peek at a more recent cruise seminar
    included training on abortion, stem cell
    research, HIPPA, euthanasia, and medical
    malpractice, among others.

    While the PA Code does not address keeping
    costs of required continuing education credits
    at a minimal cost for seasoned staff, Section §
    199.22 of the PA Code addresses training costs
    for newly hired staff.

    "Costs for those persons statutorily required to
    attend the Basic Education Course will be the
    minimum necessary to pay the cost of
    instruction, required course materials, and
    room and board," as per the PA Code.

    RANTS that the County of Fayette cannot afford
    to pay for such sweet vacations for all of its
    elected officials, their families and
    departments. Yes, surely, we jest and have to
    wonder if Vicites and Lohr even read the
    requisition or considered asking the coroner to
    send his crew for training at a more reasonable
    venue and cost.  (25 Apr 18)