Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton told council last week he is “seriously considering” retaining a professional recruiter to round up applicants for a purchasing/procurement director position and possibly other vacant top management posts.
“It’s been extremely difficult in some of these positions to raise a real pool of highly qualified, enthusiastic candidates,” he said.
The county has been accepting applications for the purchasing position since prior director Frank Pugliese obtained a school district job in October.
“We have advertised and re-advertised nationally,” Lawton said, noting a recruiter may attract candidates who are successful in their current positions and not responding to job advertisements.
He said 65 percent of the county budget is spent on pay and benefits.
“All the rest of it, we buy stuff. And so it’s critical to have a skilled, talented procurement agent, somebody who is familiar with government operations and somebody who has a highest level of integrity and loyalty to this institution — a real self-starter,” he said.
The purchasing director position is advertised at $40,000 to $50,000.
• The county has several other positions advertised on the career opportunities section of the county website, www.luzernecounty.org: 911 executive director, $60,000; human services division head, $70,000-$85,000; budget and financial services division head, $75,000-$90,000; and chief engineer, $56,000-$84,000.
• Lawton said he has asked Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik to explore revamping the county website to make it more user-friendly and relevant to people seeking information and services outside business hours.
Councilman Stephen J. Urban raised the subject last week, saying the website should be enhanced to allow more self-service for citizens.
• Councilman Rick Williams said he has asked Chief County Solicitor C. David Pedri to research the addition of language prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation to county ordinances and policies.
“I’ll await the solicitor’s thoughts on that so it can be done as thoughtfully and efficiently as we can,” Williams said at last week’s council public hearing on the proposed capital budget and long-term plan.
• County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council meeting room at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre. No executive session is listed, so the meeting should start at that time.
• Lawton is slated to present a proposal consolidating banking services during Tuesday’s meeting.
The county’s home rule charter called for a reduction in the county’s roughly 70 to 100 bank accounts. The administration sought proposals as part of its plan to retain one banking institution.
The meeting agenda is posted on the council section of the website.
• Communication with court branches is getting better, but there’s still room for improvement, Lawton told council last week.
“In terms of cooperation and seeing that we’re all part of the system, they have a long way to go,” Lawton said.
He said the bench “exists to service people.”
“They are part of the system. They are not the feudal overlords that we might once have tolerated,” he said.