Robert Lawton wraps up final day as Luzerne County manager

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -



    Robert Lawton quietly wrapped up his last day as Luzerne County manager Thursday.

    He said good bye to workers who called or visited him, packed up his office, turned in his security badge and other county property and completed an exit interview with council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck.

    McClosky Houck said she asked Lawton about his reasons for leaving, future suggestions and questions about job satisfaction, supervision and support.

    While a majority of the council members had privately or publicly concluded it was time for a new manager after nearly four years under Lawton’s leadership, McClosky Houck stressed Lawton chose to leave and was not terminated.

    “He left voluntarily and was not forced to resign,” she said.

    McClosky Houck said she will share Lawton’s exit interview responses with her council colleagues in executive session because it’s a confidential personnel matter.

    Lawton has declined to provide a public critique, saying he gave the council and employees an assessment of progress under his tenure when he resigned in November.

    He said Thursday he will leave the area with many positive memories.

    “I think the county is better off than when I got here,” he said.

    McClosky Houck said she also worked through a checklist of items associated with Lawton’s departure, such as canceling his access to computer accounts and service on the county Retirement Board and the board that oversees the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

    Lawton sent an email to county officials informing them he has selected Treasurer’s Office Manager Laura Beers to approve and sign payments on the manager’s behalf.

    County Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz and Beers are the two county representatives authorized to sign all checks withdrawing county funds, Lawton said.

    Beers’ appointment was approved by both auditors and the solicitor’s office, McClosky Houck said. Beers is already bonded, which protects the county, she said.

    “That was one of my main concerns,” McClosky Houck said.

    County Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik is now acting manager, as designated by Lawton.

    McClosky Houck included a vote on a temporary manager — Parsnik or another employee — on Monday’s council reorganization meeting agenda.

    Three other employees have expressed interest in the temporary assignment: Chief Solicitor C. David Pedri, county Correctional Division Head J. Allen Nesbitt and county Engineer Greg Parrs.


    By Jennifer Learn-Andes

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

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

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