Let’s hope Joseph A. Refice, 63, has finally learned a lesson from the school of hard knocks.
Busted after lying on his official Lackawanna County government job application, the seasoned civil servant no longer works in public service. In what may be a record, the longtime state and local government employee resigned Monday only hours after starting his new $56,000-a-year job.
A reporter confirmed that Refice does not possess the University of Scranton bachelor’s degree he said he received when he graduated.
At the very least, graduating from an undergraduate college shows some semblance of disciple and focus. Life experience can teach similar traits. Taken together, a college graduate and an experienced achiever make a better world go round.
Then there’s Joe.
Who knows if he has told people over the years that he possesses a B.S. degree in business from the U. The BS we understand. The degree, however, is non-existent.
But that claim is exactly what appears written in longhand on his job application – an application oddly enough that was filed and dated the very day he started and stopped work.
So much for new majority Democratic commissioners Corey O’Brien and Jim Wansacz promising to take politics out of hiring.
Refice is nothing but politics.
His application shows nothing but government work for Democrats during a long and well-paid career from 1993 to 2011. Refice says on his application that he left government service twice because of a “change of administration.” In between, he landed at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport as the public safety supervisor, a job created by and controlled by Democrats, where he pulled down $45,000 a year on behalf of two cash-strapped counties where unemployment is off-the-charts high.
Coming into his new Lackawanna County job, Refice also was pulling in two pensions.
Talk about a provider.
Refice’s father-in-law, four-term Lackawanna County Democratic Commissioner Ray Alberigi, was no doubt very proud of his son-in-law. And, of course, no evidence has yet surfaced that Ray helped grease the political skids for the former college drop-out who married into the family.
The kid supposedly did it his way – which is now part of the problem.
Because we now know that he signed off on a bogus application and quit as a result, we have ample reason to ask to see whatever other official government job applications he might have submitted in the past. I say “might have,” because, political animal that he is, Refice might not have filed any government applications the way most politically unconnected people are required to do.
So we should not be surprised if no application exists for the airport job or for the two state jobs he listed on his most recent application – the application that he apparently did not have to fill out when he first applied for the job.
But we need to know.
So do law enforcement officials.
Yesterday on “Corbett” I requested that Lackawanna County District Attorney Andy Jarbola open a criminal investigation into whether Refice broke any law by lying on his county application and then attesting to his truthfulness when he signed the official county disclaimer – assuming that the signature on the official disclaimer is, indeed, his signature.
Everything at this point is suspect.
And, if Refice filed official state applications did he claim to possess a college degree? I surely hope not because if he did, his pension might be in jeopardy. And if it is, taxpayers need to get an immediate hold placed on his next checks.
It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out that, no matter what O’Brien and Wansacz say, politics as usual rules Lackawanna County hiring.
To the best of my knowledge, by the way, no county employee or job applicant has yet claimed to be a Rhodes Scholar.
In the land of “Lackawanna Wonderful,” however, anything is possible.