Luzerne County manager search on Tuesday’s council agenda

By Jennifer Learn-Andes - | January 24th, 2016 5:37 pm

The Luzerne County Council is set to vote Tuesday on reducing the citizen manager search committee from five to four people.

Salem Township resident Robert Fisher resigned from the committee earlier this month to accept a new unanticipated job assignment in Kansas.

The county’s home rule charter requires at least three citizens on the committee, but the council opted for five to encourage more viewpoints. An even number — four or six — was not considered to prevent tie votes.

However, committee members had expressed concerns that adding someone new to the mix at this stage would be unnecessary and counterproductive. The committee — which also includes Carmen Ambrosino, Gene A. Camoni, Gerard O’Donnell and Michael Giamber — held several meetings and is preparing to publicly advertise the position.

The position is open because Robert Lawton resigned the end of 2015.

Kingston resident Brian Shiner sent the council members an email earlier this week urging them to add a fifth member.

Shiner said the committee has been tied on some votes and pointed out the committee still faces its “most important” votes selecting finalists for the manager position.

“While some may find an even number of members acceptable, it is definitely most unusual and not in keeping with the decision of this council. A fifth member is necessary to eliminate the possibility of further tie votes, especially within a committee of such importance to the future of Luzerne County,” Shiner wrote.

The council also will discuss amending the county manager selection process to require the council to choose a finalist recommended by the search committee.

The subject came up at a recent county council meeting, when Councilman Rick Williams asked if the committee will furnish additional finalists to the council if the council members don’t select one of the three to five recommended by the committee.

Giamber, the committee chairman, told the council a search committee would be meaningless if the council members want to “go through the list” of applicants themselves.

The council also is set to discuss the committee’s county manager job description, vacancy announcement and proposed requirement for the manager to live in the county within six months of his or her hiring.

Tuesday’s voting meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the council meeting room at the courthouse, followed by a work session.

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

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