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Lycoming County commissioners, controller at odds over hiring

Lycoming County Controller Krista Rogers took issue with a vote taken by commissioners at their regular weekly meeting concerning the hiring of personnel.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to approve Kelsey I. Dowling for the vacant position of administrative specialist in the controller’s office, an action that Rogers claimed violates county code.

The violation involved personnel action taken by commissioners within an elected officials’ office, she contended.

The county code, she said, gives hiring, discharging and supervisory authority only to the elected official, which in this case would be her.

“All hiring actions are vested with me,” she told commissioners.

Commissioners disagreed.

“How would a person get paid if we don’t do it?” Commissioner Rick Mirabito asked.

Mirabito later told the Sun-Gazette he felt commissioners are being transparent and complying with the law.

“She is certainly entitled to another opinion,” he said.

Eventually, a brief angry exchange occurred between Rogers and Commissioner Tony Mussare.

Commissioners and Rogers were recently involved in a lawsuit stemming from the transfer of employees from her department to the Office of Budget and Finance.

“You accused us of doing illegal things,” Mussare said. “I want you to stop.”

Potter County Judge John Leete recently ruled against a complaint by the commissioners who alleged Rogers threatened to withhold pay from the reassigned employees and directed files be hidden and not turned over to the county. He also ruled against the plaintiffs on a contempt violation against Rogers.

He did not reverse action by the commissioners regarding the transfer of employees.

Commissioner Scott Metzger said, “The judge didn’t make a decision on the main issue. The court did not tell us to move people back.”

On Tuesday, Leete explained why he did not take such action.

“I think that if further action is necessary, that would be up to the parties,” he said. “If there are further problems, they will be raised.”

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