Sunday, July 13, 2014

County openings draw job-seekers’ interest

July 14. 2013 11:18PM

By - - (570) 991-6388

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Thirteen people have applied for a new Luzerne County government management position overseeing wills and deeds, according to county Human Resources Director Andrew Check.

The position is among several posts created to handle duties that had been covered by elected row officers before the switch to home rule government.

The number of applications received for the other newly advertised positions, according to Check: sheriff, eight; coroner, four; and prothonotary/clerk of courts manager, four.

The starting salaries will range from $40,000 to $45,000 for coroner and sheriff and $45,000 to $50,000 for the other two management positions.

Check said his office will start screening resumes next week to determine which applicants meet minimum qualifications.

• The county Retirement Board met in a closed-door executive session last week to discuss unresolved litigation filed against the board by the estate of the late former county controller Steve Flood.

The Philadelphia-based Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis sued Flood and his partner/guardian, Heather Paulhamus, in 2010, seeking $205,696 in legal fees for representing Flood in a defamation suit over statements he made on a November 2002 radio program.

In turn, Flood’s estate sued the retirement board, arguing the county is responsible for the legal fees. The board had initially agreed to pay for Flood’s legal defense in the libel suit but reversed the decision shortly after Flood lost his bid for re-election in 2005. The libel suit was discontinued after Flood’s death.

• The employee pension fund has remained flat at $202.394 million this year to date, the county retirement board learned last week. The lack of growth stems largely from lagging performance in the fixed-income portion of the fund, which makes up about half of the investment portfolio. Officials are hesitant to risk investing a larger portion in stocks.

• Five people were hired in county government in June, according to county Manager Robert Lawton’s latest personnel report: Claudia Vitiello, part-time aging senior center manager, $12.36/hour; Desiree Butera, children and youth social services aide, $20,489; Adianne Suder and Renee Wanyo, mental health caseworkers, $32,116; and J. Allen Nesbitt, correctional services division head, $75,000.

Two prison correctional officers also were reinstated from layoff: Jonathan Lazarchick and Jennifer Malak.

• Employees in the county’s court-related union have received $500 base salary increases as part of a new contract awarded through binding arbitration earlier this year.

The 110-employee union, part of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, represents sheriff deputies and clerical staff in court-related offices.

The prior contract expired at the end of 2011. Employees received no raises for 2012 or the first four months of 2013 and $750 for 2014. The average salary in the union is $30,000, union officials have said.

• County Council will hold a public work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday to discuss human service division budgets followed by a public hearing on Lawton’s proposed capital budget. The sessions will be in the council meeting room at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre, and documents related to these topics have been posted under the agenda on the council page of the county website,

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