County creates new IT position, honors retirees

LOCK HAVEN — In the first step in a long-term plan to restructure the Clinton County Information Technology (IT) department, commissioners added a new position of IT trainer/help desk support to the county.

The position, with a starting salary of $34,568, has not been filled yet, and the county continues to advertise for it.

To help put the plan in place, commissioners also hired a part-time IT implementation manager, Lewis Summers, who will make $75 an hour.

This got the attention of members of the public attending Thursday’s commissioners meeting who took issue with the fact that the county did not advertise this position.

Chairman Pete Smeltz said the county did not advertise the part-time position because it specifically wanted Summers’ expertise. Summers was familiar with the IT plan and had helped orchestrate it.

Smeltz also said he felt it is in “our right” as commissioners to hire a person with exclusive knowledge of a professional restructuring plan.

Chief Clerk Jann Meyers said the county has had issues in the past with hiring a contractor, only to learn from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that the person should have been a part-time employee.

In December, Daryl Geyer, a part-time security-software technician, departed the county and commissioners never filled that vacancy.

Smeltz said Summers’ hiring replaces Geyer’s position in the IT restructuring.

Answering a question posed by Lock Haven City Councilman Richard Morris, Smeltz said there was no set timeline for the IT implementation plan yet.

Yesterday, the county honored the retirement of four long-time employees in emergency services and the courts.

Betty Packer, a clerk in the Department of Emergency Services, served 37 years. Keith McHenry, also of the DES, served 26 years as a 9-1-1 supervisor. DES Director Kevin Fanning said the retirements of McHenry and Packer mark the end of an era for emergency services, a “shift in generational personality” from employees willing to stay and work hard for the county for many years.

Linda Weaver served 20 years as a second deputy in the prothonotary’s office and Deni Marcaccio served 15 years in the Magisterial District Justice 1 office.

Recently, the county has begun to feel the strain of competing with the private sector for qualified employees. There is a pervasive sentiment that both the county prison and the 9-1-1 center are a “revolving door” of employees. As a result, Human Resources Director Cathy Dremel has been organizing several hiring events for both departments.

“We are going to become a very competitive job market,” Smeltz said, lamenting the shortage of long-term county government employees. “What are we going to do?”

Children and Youth Services was finally able to fill two outstanding positions: Kelsey Kaltenbach became a caseworker (primary case management, secondary intake and resource care) and Kelsey Lynch became Independent Living co-coordinator/Reach Out Mentoring Program co-coordinator/intake caseworker, both making a salary of $34,568.

The DES also hired James Rohrer as a full-time dispatcher trainee, making $11.50 an hour.

Commissioners also said they would honor the members of the Keystone 8-10, 9-11 and 10-12 All-Stars Little League Teams and the Clinton 9-11 Softball All-Stars, all of whom made it to the state championships and two of whom won states and advanced to regionals. A special ceremony is planned at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the Piper Building.