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Comms vote to reorganize DA’s office

Lycoming County Commissioners reduced staff in the district attorney’s office Thursday and set salaries for newly elected row officers and other personnel.

By a 3-0 vote, commissioners agreed to eliminate one assistant district attorney, as well as a full-time clerk and part-time clerk from the office.

Reorganization of the office, as requested by newly elected District Attorney Ryan Gardner, also includes the addition of two assistant county detectives.

Gardner told commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting that he wanted to streamline the office while reducing the backlog of criminal cases.

Commissioner Tony Mussare noted that adding two detectives will help reduce the backlog while fighting crime.

“We are more than eager to support him (Gardner),” he said.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito said certain changes eventually must be made.

“Because the backlog affects all departments,” he said.

Commissioner Scott Metzger noted the backlog amounts to 450 cases per month.

“He (Gardner) will definitely be tough on crime,” he said.

The detectives, yet to be hired, will earn $28.86 per hour and $26.75 per hour.

Commissioners voted to approve annual salaries for the following county positions:

• Ryan Gardner, district attorney, $185,665.

• Thomas D Heap, prothonotary, $70,541.

• Dave Huffman, register & recorder, $70,541.

• Cindy Newcomer, treasurer, $68,491.

In other action, commissioners approved a state grant of $60,000 for pre-disaster mitigation.

The money, which the county must match with 15 percent funding, would be used for property buyouts from flooding and other mitigation needs.

Commissioners approved an amendment with Paul Albert Architect LLC for design work of the front entrance to the county prison.

The amendment extends the amount of time needed to complete the work.

To date, a total of $6,010 has been spent on the project.

Also approved was the certification of $56,150 in funding for the 2020 farmland preservation program.

The money represents the county contribution to the program, which has set aside more than 10,000 acres of land in agricultural preservation since its inception in the early 1990s.

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