Jury commissioner positions eliminated|
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield County Commissioners voted to eliminate the jury commissioner positions at its meeting yesterday.
In a cost-savings move, the Clearfield County Commissioners voted 3-0 to eliminate the two jury commissioner positions and replace them with a single part-time employee.
According to a cost analysis provided to the media by the commissioners, the two jury commissioner positions cost the county $49,172, which includes $15,542 in salaries, $22,852 in medical insurance, $1,856 in retirement contributions, $1,500 for hospitalization waiver, $1,057 in FICA expenses, $247 in Medicare expenses, $89 for life insurance and $223 for Workers Compensation.
Other expenses include $3,696 for postage, $1,500 for jury commissioner association dues, and $610 for printed supplies.
In contrast, hiring a part-time employee would cost the county a total of $12,859, a 74 percent savings or $36,12.25.
The cost of the part-time employee includes $7,500 in salaries, $345 for Workers Compensation, $315 for FICA, $108.75 for Medicare, and $45 for life insurance.
With the part-time employee the county would also not have to purchase $1,500 in association dues, according to Commissioner Joan Robinson McMillen.
State Act 108 of 2011, which went into affect earlier this year, gave counties the option of eliminating the position of jury commissioner and Chairman John Sobel said the commissioners studied the issue fully before making a decision to make sure the county could still generate accurate jury lists that represent a cross section of the county's residents.
He said their decision to eliminate the jury commissioner positions in no way is a reflection on the performance of the county's two jury commissioners. Sobel said Linda Hatcher and Ellen Harry have both been excellent employees who have worked hard at serving the public.
However, Sobel said with the advance of technology, much of their traditional responsibilities of jury commissioners can now be done by computer.
Commissioner Mark McCracken said he checked with the county's Information Technology Department to make sure they had the capabilities to perform the task and said the county already has the necessary software in place to compile jury lists. He said main duties of the part-time employee would be to do the mailings.
The two jury commissioners will remain in place until their current terms expire at the end of 2013.
However, McMillen said the jury commissioners association is challenging Act 108 in court and if overturned the jury commissioners would remain in office.
In other business:
• McCracken reported the federal Environmental Protection Agency held a public meeting Monday night in DuBois on the permitting process for waste disposal wells.
Windfall Oil and Gas plans to develop a deep injection well in the Highland Street Extension area to dispose of frack water from Marcellus shale drilling operations and several residents of the area are opposing the project.
The commissioners also have stated they are opposed to direct injection wells and instead favor treatment of frack water.
McCracken said the company has not yet officially applied for a permit yet so EPA officials were unable to answer any questions on it. He said the meeting was held instead to give information to the public on the permitting process in general and McCracken thanked the EPA for holding the meeting.
• The commissioners approved the following personnel changes.
Resignations: Justin Butterworth, telecommunicator/911; Samantha Beck, secretary II, domestic relations; and Alicia Nevling, part-time telecommunicator/911.
Transfers: Jeffrey Arnold, part-time telecommunicator/911 to full-time telecommunicator/911.
New hires: Jamie Lockett, caseworker/Children Youth and Family Services.
Family Medical Leave: Debra Dotts, custodian, July 20-Sept. 3.
• apply for the Grant-In Aid grant from the state for the Probation Department for $301,112.
• advertise the ordinance for the intergovernmental agreement with Cameron, Clarion, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango, and Warren counties for the establishment and maintenance of an emergency 911 telephone system called the Northern Tier Telecommunications Project.