W-B Area Career and Tech Center hires outsider for nursing program

By Mark Guydish - [email protected]
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PLAINS TWP. — Ignoring previous pleas to promote a new director from within the nursing program, the Joint Operating Committee that runs the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center appointed a Wilkes University administrator to take charge of the practical nursing program Monday.

The committee voted unanimously to make Wilkes University Health and Wellness Services Coordinator Gail Holby practical nursing coordinator at a salary of $95,000. Holby was at the meeting and afterwards thanked committee members multiple times. She said she has worked at Wilkes since 2005

During the meeting, Holby’s credentials were questioned by Briane Flaherty, daughter of the woman Holby replaces, Mary Beth Pacuska. Flaherty is a nursing staff member and had joined several other staff in applying for administrative positions vacated by Pacuska and several others in recent months.

Flaherty noted the program’s accreditation requires the director to have a master’s degree. CTC Administrative Director Anthony Guariglia said Holby has a bachelor’s “and is working toward her master’s,” and that her progress will be monitored to make sure the school attains accreditation.

Pacuska left on unfriendly terms, contending the committee had become hostile to her, repeatedly refusing to vote on requested purchases and hiring. At the June meeting several staff and graduates of the program spoke passionately in support of her and the other departing administrators. Pacuska and several others urged the committee to appoint new administrators from the existing staff.

Pacuska made three recommendations, including suggesting Flaherty be promoted to clinical coordinator. She said she had explained her relationship with Flaherty to the committee.

The committee did not fill any other administrative positions. After the meeting, Chairman Bill Thomas said the committee will wait for Holby to review the program and make further recommendations.

The committee did vote, on an item put on the agenda via an addendum, to rescind a motion approved May 21 to eliminate the position of recruiter. Four people voted against the move, with member Bill Jones noting the budget did not include money for the job. But six voted for it, giving Linda Yurkoski her old title back as career and workforce specialist

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By Mark Guydish

[email protected]

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish

Reach Mark Guydish at 570-991-6112 or on Twitter @TLMarkGuydish