Lycoming County payroll continues to decrease

Lycoming County government is down another full-time position near the end of the second quarter of 2018, said Roxanne Grieco, deputy director of human resources, in a report to the commissioners Thursday morning.

Some positions also have been added; however, three of those are temporary and two took the place of a full-time position.

A part-time temporary position was added to Veterans Affairs, as one staff member left full-time but agreed to part-time employment to help with the workload. A part-time temporary clerk was added to the treasurer’s office to help with doe licensing and the position is expected to expire by the end of August, Grieco said. Finally, a part-time temporary position was added in the courts to replace a full-time secretary, who left upon the retirement of Judge Richard Gray.

In addition, an assistant public defender position was added to the public defender’s office, which has not asked for a new position in nearly 30 years, said Commissioner Rick Mirabito.

“Part-time positions don’t have health care and don’t have pension. Those are legacy costs,” Mirabito said.

In the first quarter, Grieco reported that 15 positions total were eliminated from the table of distribution and authorizations, which is a list of authorized county staff positions. Of those, four positions had been costing taxpayer dollars to fill.

The county already is seeing some savings on its payroll, according to the workers compensation and payroll audit for 2017, said Commissioner Jack McKernan.

“Our 2017 wages, overall, were about $700,000 less than 2016,” he said.

In another matter, the Adult Probation Office will apply to the state Board of Probation and Parole for a grant in the amount of $1.17 million in the hopes of funding staff salaries, although the odds of receiving that amount are low if recent years are any indicator.

Last year, the office received $157,236 in response to its application, said John Stahl, supervisor.

The state, in its legislation, claims “the goal” is to fund county probation offices by 80 percent, Mirabito said. But, for many years, Lycoming has been receiving closer to 10 percent and other counties are having similar issues, he said.

“It’s been ‘a goal’ for 30 years,” added Matt McDermott, director of administration.

The state ordinance that grants funding to county probation offices also clarifies which positions would qualify for such funding. Concerned about the immense disparity between funds applied for and funds received, city resident Dave Abernathy asked the commissioners to verify whether the department was truly meeting grant requirements.

“Is it because we’re filling positions that don’t qualify for this,” he asked.

“All the positions that are on (the application) meet the criteria that the state set,” McKernan replied.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Awarded a $94,600 contract to Oldcastle Precast Inc. for eight concrete manhole box structures at the county landfill, which will help with required maintenance and cleaning.

• Approved a three-year professional service agreement not to exceed $56,000 with Schuylkill Mobile Fone for pagers used primarily by the Department of Public Safety in areas with no cellphone coverage, as well as by the probation offices and courts.

• Approved the purchase of a $12,500 bunker and field rake from John Deere, which will be paid for by Billy Casper Golf over the course of a 60-month lease.

• Approved a lease agreement with the Environmental Consulting Affiliates Network, which has moved into office space on the first floor of Executive Plaza. The lease totals $12,000 for the first year, or $1,000 per month, and the first term runs from July 1 through June 30, 2019, with an option to renew for four additional terms of one year.

• Approved a grant agreement with the state Department of Human Services for $1.73 million for STEP Inc.’s Medical Assistance Transportation Program.

• Appointed Jeff Bower to the county Board of Assessment Appeals.

• Approved the following personnel actions: Reese L. Homes as a full-time replacement administrative enforcement officer for collections at $18 per hour effective Sunday; Tina L. Jedrziewski as a part-time replacement clerk for fiscal services at $13 per hour, not to exceed 1,000 hours annually, effective Monday; Michael Gehr as a full-time replacement network engineer for information services at $42,180 annually effective Tuesday; Doug Hasko as a full-time replacement custodial worker at $11 per hour effective Monday; Zachary S. Stirparo as a full-time replacement law clerk for Judge Eric R. Linhardt at $38,548 annually effective Sept. 4; and Lisa D. DiMassimo as a full-time replacement clerk in the district attorney’s office at $14 per hour effective Monday.