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RODERICK RANDOM: Democrats, Notarianni Wish Upon Cabinet Star

August 18, 2018

In the 2019 race for Lackawanna County commissioner, her name probably tops the list of intriguing ones who might run.

Multiple sources tell us someone has approached Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne about running for commissioner.

With a long history of public service and social work, Osborne, truly one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, might seem too nice to run for political office.

We’ll see. Anyway, the rumor mill has her potentially teaming up with Democratic County Commissioner Jerry Notarianni.

Efforts Friday to reach Osborne, 51, of Scranton, were unsuccessful.

Notarianni declined to say if he talked to Osborne about running with him.

“She’s got a pretty good job,” he said.

As secretary of aging, Osborne earns $148,085 a year, almost double the $76,017 a year commissioners earn.

“That’s an interesting rumor,” he said of his possible pairing with Osborne.

True that.

“I have no idea who’s running next year,” Notarianni said. “I know I am. I know I’ll have a running mate.”

Sounds like maybe they talked.

Known as a strong advocate for the elderly, Osborne has never run for public office, but her advocacy could make her attractive to senior citizens, who vote in great numbers.

Gov. Tom Wolf nominated her to be secretary of aging Jan. 16, 2015, and the state Senate unanimously confirmed her May 13, 2015.

Osborne worked for years as operations director for the Advocacy Alliance, whose leader, Alex Hazzouri, called her “the ultimate advocate for older adults.”

In December 2003, county commissioners A.J. Munchak and Robert Cordaro named her to run the county Area Agency on Aging. She kept that job after commissioners Corey O’Brien and Mike Washo took over the majority on the board of commissioners in 2008. They later named her director of county human services. In January 2011, she took aver as the new chancellor and chief operating officer of the 11-county Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton.

She was seriously injured in a car crash in July 2014, but recovered. She left the diocese job in 2014 to lead the Area Agency on Aging for Luzerne/Wyoming Counties before giving that up to lead the state Department of Aging.

Strangely, her official biography on the Department of Aging website doesn’t list her diocesan service.

Given the sex abuse scandal roiling the Scranton diocese and others, she will likely face some questions about her days there, but for now she’s not even officially a candidate.

Democratic Commissioner Patrick O’Malley and Republican Commissioner Laureen Cummings are expected to seek re-election. A host of potential challengers whose names we’ve reviewed here in the last couple of months have emerged as possible challengers.

O’Malley, Cummings and Notarianni have not announced running mates.

Another potential candidate popped up two weeks ago. Downtown Scranton pizza shop owner Giovanni Piccollino said he’s running for commissioner as a Republican. Piccolino wanted to run first for council then for mayor last year, but problems with his nominating petitions prevented that. He has yet to show he can organize a serious campaign.

Bolus v. Secret Service

Now he’s gone and done it for sure.

Bob Bolus sued the Secret Service and others Aug. 8 for barring three of his decorated tractor-trailers Aug. 2 from the parking lot of the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. President Donald Trump rallied his troops for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta’s Senate campaign and other candidates at the arena that evening.

Bolus also named the Luzerne County Convention Center Authority and SMG, the company that manages the arena, as defendants.

Bolus’ suit says they all violated his First Amendment Right to free speech and his 14th Amendment Right to equal protection under the law.

Bolus’ pro-Trump trucks gained lots of national attention in 2016 when the president ran for office. Bolus had no trouble parking them near Trump’s rallies at the arena and in Scranton when the president was only a candidate.

The lawsuit says nothing on the trucks that he brought to the arena Aug. 2 “could reasonable (sic) be considered offensive, vulgar, hate-related,” “fighting words” or something that “would incite a riot amongst reasonable people.”

The trucks supported Trump, Barletta, Republican governor candidate Scott Wagner, Republican lieutenant governor candidate Jeff Bartos and Republican House candidate Sue Henry,he wrote in the suit.

The suit points out Bolus never had any trouble parking near political events across the county in 2016.

It also says Bolus has no “history of violent or disruptive behavior.” (Some people might quibble with the disruptive part of that.)

Secret Service agents and trouble-sniffing dogs checked out the trucks and found nothing, the suit says.

Bolus thinks he was treated differently than others “for impermissible reasons, including, but not limited to, his political views and expressions of speech.”

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The lawsuit reads like a lawyer wrote it. Bolus, who is representing himself, said he wrote it himself. As anyone familiar with his litigious nature knows, he has had lots of practice with lawsuits.

BORYS KRAWCZENIUK, The Times-Tribune politics reporter, writes Random Notes, which has appeared every Saturday since November, 1895.

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