News & Resources

Prospective county official turned down following background check

Feb 25, 2011 Matt Roesly

Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, was set to announce the hiring of a new director of transportation until a red flag popped up following a clean background check. According to the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, Joseph Chairge Jr. was about to be announced to the position before it was discovered he had a bookmaking charge in his past stemming from a 2005 gambling ring. In response, county commissioner Stephen A. Urban said that he would rescind his to vote to appoint Chairge to the head of the transportation department. According to the paper, Chairge's charge was expunged following a year spent in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program. "I think having something like this in your background, in the environment we’re living in in Luzerne County, it should have been told to those interviewing, and he had several opportunities to do so," Maryanne Petrilla, the chairwoman of the county commission told the Times Leader. However, there is contention between Chairge and local lawmakers, as the original background check did not reveal the bookmaking charge. It was not until the review of a 2005 newspaper article regarding his case did Urban, Petrilla and others turn down his appointment.