Luzerne County workers buy toys for children removed from home on Christmas Eve

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - [email protected]
Luzerne County Courthouse -

When four Luzerne County children were placed with a foster family on Christmas Eve, their anxiety worsened when they realized they would have no presents, county Manager C. David Pedri told county council last week.

“They were very upset because they had been extra good that year,” Pedri said.

After learning about the situation, two county Children and Youth workers — Ceil Bartolai and Georgine Meyers — rounded up some toys that had been donated to the agency and also purchased more with their own money, Pedri said.

“I’m extremely proud of those two county employees for what they did and their efforts to make a difference there,” he said, holding it up as an example of contributions of county workers that are not often acknowledged.

Pedri said he cannot discuss why the children were removed from their home.

Board vacancies

Council Vice Chairman Eugene Kelleher urged county citizens to consider applying for vacancies on county boards, authorities and commissions.

Although many seats were filled last week, numerous vacancies remain.

One of the most pressing needs is a registered Democrat to serve on the county election board, said council Chairman Tim McGinley.

Applications are available on the authorities, boards and commissions section at

Kelleher, who oversees the council committee that screens applicants for the unpaid seats, said he will soon set up another public interview session.

Councilman Robert Schnee, who also serves on the committee, said the resumes of some people volunteering to serve in recent times have been “unbelievable.

“Luzerne County is a wealth of talent that just has to be tapped into,” Schnee said.

Vacant seat

An announcement seeking applicants for a council seat vacated by Edward Brominski has been posted on the council section of the website.

Resumes are due Jan. 18.

Councilwoman Sheila Saidman suggested council approve a resolution honoring Brominski, who served since the county’s January 2012 implementation of a home rule government. McGinley said one will be prepared for the next meeting on Jan. 22.

Job openings

The county is seeking applicants for several positions posted on the human resources page of the website.

These openings, along with the annual compensation: full-time assistant public defender, $43,000; second shift custodial worker, $21,550; Children and Youth caseworker manager, $51,539, and caseworker in Hazleton, $36,000; prothonotary clerk, $25,950; deputy sheriff, $27,950; road and bridge mechanic, $25,000; and IT network administrator, $45,000 to $50,000.

Chase Road

A full restoration of Chase Road in Jackson Township will begin as soon as the end of March and should be completed by mid-June, county Operational Services Division Head Edmund O’Neill said in response to an inquiry from Councilman Harry Haas.

The deteriorated condition of the county-owned road has prompted frequent citizen complaints. County officials had been working with the state Department of Transportation to advance the project for three years. The state will fund 80 percent of the work.

American Asphalt will complete the work, O’Neill said.

Manager evaluation

Council members informally agreed to revise the form to evaluate the county manager.

Linda McClosky Houck suggested the update, saying many of the critiquing measures were developed when the home rule structure was in the initial implementation phase and are outdated.

“I think that after seven years, it’s time to look at again and say, ‘What do we want our current manager to be doing?’” McClosky Houck told her colleagues last week.

Luzerne County Courthouse County Courthouse

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

[email protected]

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.