Director: Voting district consolidation up to boroughs

The Lycoming County commissioners had a lengthy discussion Thursday with Forrest K. Lehman, director of elections and registration, to clear up confusion surrounding Lehman’s proposal to consolidate some voting districts in the near future.

Some municipalities, such as Hughesville and Jersey Shore boroughs, are being consulted on the idea because their council members are elected by wards, meaning consolidating may require a change in how they do business, Lehman explained.

The county is financially and logistically responsible for elections, from buying all new voting machines, as recently mandated by the state, to ensuring enough pollworkers are available to help run each voting precinct, he said.

Consolidation could save the county money and distress because fewer voting machines and pollworkers would be needed, however the county cannot make the decision on behalf of municipalities whose elections would be impacted, he said.

“The ball is very much in their courts,” Lehman said, referring to Hughesville and Jersey Shore boroughs. “I can assure them that it would be good for conduct of elections, but I want them to think about it on their own and be comfortable. They have to make their own decision about whether it’s best for their municipal government.”

“It could be a little while before we hear anything one way or the other, and I think that’s entirely appropriate that they take their time,” he added.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved the sale of surplus, nonfunctioning computer equipment to Igor Yurkovetsky for $470.

• Approved an agreement with the City of Williamsport for the submission of the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant program in the amount of $11,483, which the city will use toward an anti-drug backpack program.

• Approved a rental agreement with Susquehanna Crane Service for a rental crane at a rate of $185 per hour.

• Hired the following personnel: Eileen E. Ebner as a full-time replacement executive secretary in the commissioners office at $29,679.54 annually, effective Monday; Andrew Melzer as a full-time replacement domestic relations officer at $38,166.82 annually, effective Monday; Suzanne E. Hutchins and Nola C. Hitchens as full-time replacement clerks in domestic relations at $13.95 per hour, effective Monday; and Emiro J. Mugno as a full-time replacement correction officer relief in the prison at $16.01 per hour, effective Oct. 28. Mugno’s hiring had been approved at a previous meeting, however a change in start date due to unexpected military leave needed to be authorized, according to human resources.

Commissioners Jack McKernan, Tony Mussare and Rick Mirabito were present. The next meeting will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Executive Plaza.