Pittston, Pennsylvania , United States
|| 00, 1944
|Died||March 15, 2019
Apr 19, 2021 11:53am
Married - Union Member - Catholic -
|Info||Wilfrid E. "Wil" Toole |
At the time I finished high school, the law of the land was that every adult male reaching the age of 18 had a military obligation and could be called upon to serve if drafted by the local Draft Board. I was given advice by older and experienced family members to join the service and get my military obligation behind me so that it did not interfere with my career in later years. I voluntarily joined the United States Coast Guard and honorably served four years on active duty from 1961 through 1965 which was the Viet Nam era.
After discharge from active duty, I was fortunate to begin a career in finance. I was hired and worked my way up to branch manager and Special Lending Officer of a national finance company. Over ten years of finance experience taught me the finer points of office management and obviously, the world of finance.
Years later, my finance background qualified me to accept a position in the accounting office of Luzerne County Human Resources Development Department (LCHRDD). This position afforded me additional experience in the control of finances.
Again, some years later I was given the opportunity by Tom Walsh, mayor of the City of Pittston to join his administration as his deputy. At that time, I also served as the City’s Assessor, Code Enforcement Officer and Zoning Officer. A short time later I was made the Deputy Director of the Department of Accounts and Finance and then accepted the position of City Clerk/Administrator.
As the City Clerk/Administrator, I wore many hats among them being the city’s personnel manager, purchasing manager and financial manager. I also served as the administrator of the three city pension plans. It is worth noting that a part of the duties of the County Controller is being a member of the County Salary Board and Pension Board. My experience as the City’s personnel manager and pension plan administrator gave me strong practical experience to handle those duties of the County Controller. As the city’s personnel manager, I negotiated the city’s four union contracts and took part in labor arbitrations.
To regress a bit, during my employment with the LCHRDD, I was part of the organizing movement to unionize the county. While organizing the union, a small group of county employees met at the Grogg Shop in Wilkes-Barre where we picked temporary officers as well as a contract negotiating team. I was a member of that team and helped to negotiate the first union contract in County government. Contract negotiations did not go well and a strike was forced. After a month of picketing and continued negotiations, a contract was ratified and the state issued a permanent certification and AFSCME Local 1398 was created. A meeting of the general membership was held and I was elected the first president of AFSCME Local 1398.