Luzerne County Treasurer’s Office Deputy Dominick DePolo is temporarily assisting Election Director Marisa Crispell to prepare for the May 20 primary, Crispell announced during last week’s county election board meeting.
The administration provided help because Crispell and election officials have expressed concerns about staffing shortages in the office with the layoff of one worker in January followed by four staff reductions last fall.
Crispell had eliminated the four positions last year with the agreement she could hire a deputy director, but the deputy post was cut from the 2014 budget. Election board members had warned the staffing level would make it “next to impossible” to conduct the May primary without “major problems and issues.”
DePolo is helping to proof ballots and handle other work that would have been performed by a deputy, Crispell said.
• Luzerne County Judge Lesa Gelb did a lot of scrambling to help new Republican county election board member Paul DeFabo get sworn in so he could participate in last week’s board meeting.
After rushing downstairs to the meeting room at the urgent request of citizens, Gelb questioned if DeFabo or anyone else had a Bible he could touch for the oath. When nobody did, Gelb raced back upstairs to retrieve her own for him to borrow.
• John Hakim has been hired as the county law office’s indigent counsel administrator at a salary of $72,000, according to county Manager Robert Lawton’s March personnel report posted on the county website, www.luzernecounty.org.
The hiring is part of a position restructuring plan that saves $100,000 annually, the administration says.
• Among the other March hirings: Wendy Saxe, controller’s office senior auditor, $45,000; Katherine Farrell, public defender’s office clerk typist, $22,000; and four 911 telecommunicators at $25,500 — Tarin Lynn Currier, Michael Derwin, Kaitlyn Wheeler and Tammy Aviles.
• Three employees retired last month: prison correctional officer William Moran, prison records sergeant Kevin Farrell and mental health caseworker Michael Gagliardi.
• Four employees were terminated in March, according to the report: 911 supervisor Graig Hartley, probation officer Sam Granteed, court administration management information analyst William Ostroskie and 911 telecommunicator Matthew Maciejczak.
• Several new job openings have been posted on the county’s website, along with the salaries: human services fiscal administrator, up to $65,000; judicial services clerk, $23,000; mental health/developmental services administrator, at least $62,200; and information technology network administrator, $40,000-$45,000.
* The latest property assessments have been posted on The Times Leader’s free online property assessment database at www.timesleader.com (click on the tax assess icon on the main page).
• The county’s Recreational Facilities Advisory Board will meet at 6 tonight in the courthouse second-floor jury room.
• Four council committees will meet at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in the council meeting room at the courthouse.
• A council committee will publicly interview applicants for unpaid seats on county boards, authorities and commissions at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the council meeting room.