Luzerne County government is accepting applications through Wednesday for a new $30,000-a-year election services associate position, according to the human resources page at www.luzernecounty.org.
The minimum qualifications, the posting says: a high school diploma and at least one year of experience in a legal, governmental or political office environment — or any equivalent combinations of experience/training. The job description says the associate will assist with various election activities, including customer service, processing absentee ballots, providing election information to the public and preparing election materials.
The position was among six new jobs approved by county Manager C. David Pedri in July. Under the home rule structure, the manager does not have to seek council approval for new positions if funding is available in the budget.
Pedri said the election services associate and a new IT network administrator position will be covered by general fund operating budget savings from unfilled positions, while the remaining four are funded by outside sources and a grant.
The $43,000 network administrator position also is advertised on the site, with applications due Wednesday.
Kingston resident Brian Shiner criticized the creation of the election services position during last week’s council meeting, saying he believes it was a “direct end run around this council’s decision last year.”
Council had voted last fall to remove the administration’s request for $28,000 in funding in the 2018 budget to create the associate position.
Several other open positions are posted on the county site, including a $45,000 planning/zoning analyst, a $31,382 prison correctional officer, $22,750 assessor’s office real property field investigator trainee and $43,000 assistant public defender.
County Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck asked Pedri if the county will be submitting a bill seeking reimbursement for county sheriff deputy coverage at a recent campaign rally for U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta featuring President Donald Trump at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township.
Pedri said bills were submitted in prior campaign events because the sheriff coverage was requested by campaign committees. No reimbursement is available this time because the Secret Service sought sheriff involvement, he said.
“When the Secret Service asks, it’s a law enforcement request,” Pedri said.
County council members met in closed-door executive session last week to discuss a proposed settlement with former county chief public defender Al Flora, but they did not publicly debate the matter.
The solicitor’s office has argued settlement amounts don’t have to be disclosed until the voting meeting, which is Aug. 28.
If approved, the settlement would close out 2013 litigation Flora filed over his termination, officials said.
County Budget/Finance Division Head Brian Swetz told council the county’s final draft audit could be ready as soon as next week, which would allow completion of a management analysis and response required before its public release.
Pedri had informed council in May the audit would not be completed by the home rule government’s June 30 deadline due to Children and Youth financial-record issues. The delay was troubling, he said at the time, because he was proud to release two on-time audits as manager.
Swetz said he and his staff and Children and Youth fiscal workers have been working closely with the auditor to ensure all requested information is supplied.
Council Chairman Tim McGinley has created an ad-hoc council committee to negotiate a proposed employment agreement with Pedri that must be presented to council for its consideration.
Pedri marked his two-year anniversary as county manager in May.
He was hired at a salary of $120,000. His agreement, which expires the end of this year, provided 2 percent raises in 2017 and 2018, bringing his current compensation to $124,848.
Council members Eugene Kelleher, Jane Walsh Waitkus and Chris Perry will serve on the committee, McGinley said.
Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes