Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton urged qualified professionals to apply for eight critical division-head positions during Tuesday's county council meeting.
This is the key to success of home rule in this county, Lawton said.
The first review of applicants will take place Jan. 28, and information is available at divisionheads.luzernecounty.org. The positions have various salary ranges, from $60,000 to $90,000.
Lawton said the salaries are not inconsequential, but many viable candidates could earn more in other private- or public-sector positions.
The next great adventure of this county is about to begin, said Lawton. We need strong people, smart people.
Among other topics discussed Tuesday:
• Manager evaluation: Council already approved performance qualities that will be judged when Lawton concludes one year of service at the end of February, but some council members also want to seek critiques from citizens, community leaders and employees. Council's strategic initiatives committee will come up with a recommendation on how non-council evaluations will be collected.
• Tax collectors: Council has until Feb. 15 to decide whether to eliminate or alter the pay of 69 elected tax collectors starting in 2014. Council sought a solicitor's opinion on the legality of outsourcing tax collection under home rule, but this opinion has not been publicly disclosed.
Council agreed to discuss the matter and vote on how to proceed at the next meeting, on Jan. 22.
• Code updates: Council members agree amendments are needed to the administrative, personnel and ethics codes. The strategic initiatives committee will coordinate these updates and present a recommendation to council.
• Prison food: Lawton told council he is exploring the possibility of an outside review of past free employee meals at the prison, but he doesn't want to spend the money until council and the administration receive and review an audit of the meals by county Controller Walter Griffith. Griffith, who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, has said his report should be completed shortly.
Councilman Edward Brominski held up a copy of the home rule charter Tuesday and complained it's not being followed to the letter. I'm sick of it, he said, throwing the document on the floor.
Brominski also questioned why Lawton has retained Vic Mazziotti, hired as interim budget/finance chief, to provide consulting services for the county's new financial software system. Mazziotti has wrapped up work as budget/finance chief, and has been working one day a week on the software-implementation process, Lawton said. Brominski said a permanent employee should handle software oversight.
Luzerne County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in the county's Emergency Management Agency building, Water Street, Wilkes-Barre.