Lawton designates new acting Luzerne County manager in case he leaves

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - | November 24th, 2015 11:55 am

Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton designated a new acting manager Tuesday morning, hours before the county council votes on his potential termination.

The county’s home rule charter requires the manager to designate an acting county manager to oversee the county if the manager leaves employment until a successor is hired.

Lawton had named county Chief Public Defender Steven Greenwald to fill the role in September but sent an email to council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck Monday morning saying he has selected county Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik for the assignment.

“I believe Mr. Parsnik is well prepared to fulfill the functions,” Lawton wrote. “I am pleased to have him as part of the County’s senior management team.”

Insiders say Greenwald was not interested in serving as acting manager.

The county council has power under the charter to designate someone else. Some have been pushing for county Chief Solicitor C. David Pedri to serve as acting manager, on the condition he would have to temporarily step away from handling county legal matters.

County Councilman Rick Morelli has proposed a vote to terminate Lawton at tonight’s council meeting, though it’s unclear if he will have the seven votes required to proceed with the action.

Lawton, who has been seeking another job, has declined to discuss his job search or efforts to terminate him.

Regardless of what happens tonight, the council is proceeding with formation of an outside search committee that will seek, screen and recommend applicants to be the next county manager. The selection process could take months.

Parsnik was hired as administrative division head in May 2013 and previously worked as county 911 executive director.


By Jennifer Learn-Andes

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