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Commissioners face questions over status of chief clerk

Lycoming County officials want to know why the contract for the director of administration/chief clerk has not been renewed.

A few of them came before commissioners at their meeting Thursday to speak on behalf of Matthew McDermott, who has held the position for the past five years.

His contract is set to expire at the end of the year.

Commissioners had no comment as to why or if McDermott is in fact losing his job.

County Sheriff Mark Lusk told commissioners he’s puzzled that with just 45 days left before his contract expires, it hasn’t been renewed.

“He doesn’t know in 45 days if he’ll have a job,” he said. “He has no idea what’s going to happen.”

Lusk noted that the county often recognizes and lauds veterans too.

McDermott spent more than 20 years in the U.S. Army.

“Forty-five days out isn’t acceptable,” Lusk said.

Tonya Anderson, who recently resigned her position as administrative manager in the commissioners office, noted some of McDermott’s achievements on the job.

“I am just nominating him for a job well done,” she said.

Commissioner-elect Scott Metzger said the county lacks effective leadership and that’s why he decided to run for office.

He called McDermott a leader.

The county has a high employee turnover rate and low morale among its personnel, according to Metzger.

“The county would be in a lot worse shape without him,” he said.

Facing the commissioners, he also said, “He (McDermott) has more knowledge of county government than all three of you combined.”

County Commissioner Jack McKernan said, “We always do what’s in the best interests of the county.”

Speaking to employee turnover, he said many departing county personnel work for the prison, including corrections officers. The county also has experienced a lot of retirements.

Also speaking out on behalf of McDermott was retired county prison Warden Kevin DeParlos.

“I’m here to support McDermott, “ he said.

County Commissioner Rick Mirabito said county officials are considering all costs that impact the county such as health care and pensions.

“I get upset of attacks made that we don’t care about employees,” he said.

McDermott had no comment during or after the meeting when approached by the Sun-Gazette.

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