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Commissioners to consider new positions

The Lycoming County commissioners will consider creating a new public defender position and a new bail release officer position at their meeting Thursday, as requested by human resources Tuesday morning.

The current public defender has been independently contracted for years and intends to retire in February, said Commissioner Jack McKernan.

This year’s contract was approved for $105,000 to be paid in monthly installments of $8,750.

The plan is to promote a deputy, who is unwilling to switch to independent contracting, McKernan said. The proposed salary is $98,305 plus benefits.

The prospective new public defender has been with the county for about 33 years, added Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

“One of the advantages of having her is she’s capable of handling murder cases. There are only about five attorneys in the county (able to do that),” Mirabito said.

A new bail release officer position is also on the table for the county prison.

“We have seen a lot of success out of the bail release program,” McKernan said. “They do a very good job and I think we’re investing in the position with the belief that it is going to further help us manage the prison population.”

In addition to creating two positions, the commissioners also will consider reclassifying a domestic relations officer position, a union position which has gone unfilled, to a domestic relations attorney to be in compliance with state guidelines in the hopes the already-competitive department will become more likely to earn federal funding.

“It will help put us a leg above,” McKernan said.

Other actions to be considered Thursday include renewing an agreement with Harris Local Government for software support and print services for the county’s tax collection software programs at a cost of $1,456 per month and approving a sub-recipient monitoring agreement with STEP Inc. to provide $200,000 in state Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement grant funding for its Homes in Need program.

In another matter, the commissioners approved a $22,564 grant agreement for the Department of Public Safety from the state Emergency Management Agency’s hazardous material response fund.

The funding supports a part-time position in the department and also covers some training, equipment and supplies.

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

There also will be a meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday to present the Early Intervention Program report, which recently was completed in an effort to give the county insight on how it can better manage its finances and operations. The report is online at www.lyco.org and also is available in multiple county offices and each of the county libraries.

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