Commissioner: ‘Discretion’ key in adding, subtracting Lycoming County positions

The Lycoming County Salary Board has approved two new positions to its list of county staff, known as the table of distribution and authorizations.

The commissioners discussed Tuesday adding a part-time clerical position in their office and balancing that addition by cutting a full-time clerical position in the Department of Public Safety down to part-time. On Thursday, the commissioners approved those changes to the table as well as a third — the addition of an assistant district attorney to the district attorney’s office.

The assistant district attorney who fills that next position will be in charge of leading juvenile prosecutions, which typically are contracted out at a rate of $40,000 per year, the commissioners said.

By bringing the work in-house, the new assistant district attorney also can work on other cases, which was not an option for contracted attorneys. The goal is to spread out the workload, since fewer juvenile prosecutions have been needed in recent years, they said.

Additionally, a clerical position in the district attorney’s office soon will open up due to a retirement and the commissioners do not intend to fill that seat, said Commissioner Jack McKernan.

Savings on the $40,000 contract and the clerical position, estimated to have a $35,000 salary, should balance out the $52,000 salary planned for the new assistant district attorney and result in a savings of about $23,000.

“There is a net savings … This gives the (district attorney’s) office a bit more flexibility,” McKernan said. “We haven’t lost sight of the idea of trying to reduce the number of people overall, as attrition allows.”

“On a cost-per-case basis, it may actually be better for taxpayers,” added Commissioner Rick Mirabito. “We have to try to (minimize positions) in a way that isn’t just rigid. If we take that approach, we’re not going to serve either the staff or the taxpayers best, so we have to use some discretion.”

The part-time clerk in the commissioners office will be Dylan Perry, a college student who interned for the commissioners throughout the summer for a total of $75.

Perry doesn’t return to college until December and is in the midst of several projects the commissioners would like to see completed, they said. Starting Monday, Perry will go from intern to part-time clerk, making $10.94 per hour.

When he goes back to college in December, the commissioners do not plan to fill the part-time position again but are leaving it on the table in the event their office or another department is in need of a “floater,” or a clerical staff member who can handle odd jobs as needed. The position is not to exceed 1,000 hours annually.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved a contract with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Inc. for urinalysis services and supplies for the county Pre-Release Center at a rate not to exceed $25,000 for the year.

• Renewed a lease with Casale and Bonner to expire Aug. 10, 2021.

• Approved the following personnel actions: Dylan Perry as a part-time clerk in the commissioners office at $10.94 per hour, not to exceed 1,000 hours annually, effective Monday; Chelsea Myers as a full-time replacement zoning officer in the Department of Planning and Community Development at $38,500 annually, effective Oct. 1; Megan Donohay as a part-time replacement female resident supervisor at the Pre-Release Center at $15.41 per hour, not to exceed 1,000 hours annually, effective Monday; Daniel J. Worthington as a full-time replacement telecommunicator with the Department of Public Safety at $16.59 per hour effective Sunday; and Brian M. Gottschall as a full-time replacement telecommunicator with public safety at $18.08 per hour effective Monday.

Commissioner Tony Mussare also was present. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Executive Plaza.