Commissioners set to hire labor attorney

Will oversee 2017 contract negotiations

LOCK HAVEN — The Clinton County Commissioners will be hiring a labor attorney for the 2017 negotiations with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

The commissioners said the move will allow a more professional approach to what’s expected to be a multi-year contract including retirement and health insurance packages.

Local resident Richard Morris offered a cautionary warning, saying that the commissioners could relinquish their oversight responsibilities, but commissioner Snyder said the move was necessary to have “a professional at the table,” and added, “I’m a layman … he’s an expert.”

Commissioner Pete Smeltz also signaled his possible support for bringing some human resources expert on board to help establish hiring practices and policies, a move that Morris has long favored.

The fee agreement for services will be on a sliding scale depending on the duties and the firm of Campbell, Durrant, Beatty, Palombo and Miller will provide legal representation to the county regarding labor and personnel matters.

In other matters:

r The board approved a purchase agreement with Sirius Computer Solutions for one year of maintenance on the ASD-400 IBM computer system at the 9-1-1 Center, at a cost of $2,358.

r In the third year and second reduction for a mini-grant program designed to help residents in desperate and immediate need of emergency shelter the commissioners approved signing a 2016 PHARE grant agreement in the amount of $41,000.

The reduction will further restrict local agencies ability to provide rental assistance, according to Clinton County Grants Coordinator Katie DeSilva, who told the commissioners, the grant, which once stood at $57,000, and was reduced to $47,000 last year, was decreased to $41,000 in this year’s application.

The program is funded through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement (PHARE) grant program.

Clinton County’s initiative focuses on four agencies to provide emergency shelter or rental assistance (in the form of security deposits and first month’s rent) to the most vulnerable county population.

r The board affirmed the hiring of Matthew Jones, Spencer Lane and Gary Rausch as part-time correctional officers at the Clinton County Correctional Facility, at a rate of 11.50 per hour each, with the time not to exceed 1,000 hours, effective Nov. 28.

r The commissioners approved county bills in the amount of $135,882 for the period ending Nov. 9.