Luzerne County’s new Budget and Financial Services Division Head Richard Cardamone has submitted his resignation to accept another position outside the area, county Manager Robert Lawton told council in an email.
Cardamone’s departure after only a few weeks on the job is a blow to the administration because Lawton was counting on him to take the lead overseeing the budget and other fiscal projects.
Lawton is still trying to fill a void left by Joe Gibbons, who recently took another position outside the region. Gibbons was chief county engineer but also assisted Lawton as back-up county manager in areas beyond buildings and grounds and roads and bridges.
Cardamone’s resignation takes effect June 6.
Lawton said he and existing staffers will cover Cardamone’s duties after June 6 until a new division head is selected. He said the position will be publicly advertised.
Council voted April 2 to confirm Lawton’s nomination to hire the 35-year-old Archbald resident at a salary of $85,000. He has been on the job several weeks.
Council Chairman Tim McGinley said Cardamone was immersed in preparation for the county’s 2012 audit, which must be completed by June 30 under the new home rule government.
Cardamone also is a “key player” in the switch to a new financial accounting software system targeted for implementation July 1, McGinley said. “The timing is difficult for the county,” he said.
Several sources said Cardamone, who could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon, was offered another position with higher pay and better benefits.
There’s no indication Cardamone’s decision stemmed from dissatisfaction with the often fiery atmosphere of county government.
Cardamone soldiered through council and public scrutiny as the first of eight division heads that must be selected under home rule.
A certified public accountant with a degree in business administration, Cardamone had worked as director of the state budget office’s Bureau of Commonwealth Accounting from 2005 to 2012, before leaving to open his own business.
Lawton had welcomed Cardamone’s expertise, saying he has diversified experience in a large operation and extensive credentials, including global accounting and certified governmental financial manager designations.
Cardamone attended two public council meetings since he started to answer questions about county finances.
Councilman Jim Bobeck said proceeding with the search for a replacement is Lawton’s only option. “It’s another unfortunate personnel setback that we will deal with and move forward,” said Bobeck. “There is no time to think about those who have left this team but merely to move forward with those who are still here.”
Five other division heads have been hired to date: Joan Hoggarth, judicial services and records; J. Allen Nesbitt, correctional services; David Parsnik, administrative services; C. David Pedri, chief solicitor; and Steven M. Greenwald, chief public defender.
Lawton is still reviewing options for filling the human services and operational services division head posts.