Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton has selected the first permanent home rule division head under home rule — Archbald resident Richard M. Cardamone to oversee budget and financial services.
The position is instrumental as the county struggles to contain expenses and cover mandated services while repaying more than $430 million in outstanding debt. In addition to overseeing finances in all departments, this division head will handle county property assessment.
County Council must confirm division head nominations under home rule. Council will question Cardamone and vote on the confirmation Tuesday.
A certified public accountant with a degree in business administration and accounting, Cardamone worked as director of the state budget office’s Bureau of Commonwealth Accounting from 2005 to 2012.
As bureau director, Cardamone led a staff of more than 150 employees and oversaw budgeting, accounting and reporting for 40 state agencies with a combined $60 billion in budgeted funds.
In addition to his state government experience, Cardamone has held several private-sector investment and accounting positions, most recently as a small-business owner.
Cardamone owns Padgett Business Services, a franchise office that provides accounting, tax and payroll services for small businesses.
The 35-year-old Cardamone was at Lawton’s office Wednesday when Lawton forwarded his resume and information about the selection process to County Council for its review. Cardamone said the position advertisement intrigued him because his work in state government was fulfilling. “Public service is a piece of me,” he said.
He also looks forward to work in county government, which is a smaller version of state government facing varied services, regulations and mandates. “It’s really a unique opportunity to step in with a new form of government,” he said.
Cardamone said he would use his experience to analyze financial data to help management and elected officials make decisions.
“Accounting is not just numbers anymore,” he said.
Lawton said the administration is excited about Cardamone’s nomination because he has diversified experience in a large operation and extensive credentials, including global accounting and certified governmental financial manager designations.
County Human Resources Director Andrew Check said Cardamone played a key role in the restructuring of state accounting and financing procedures to allow more benchmarking and best practices.
Cardamone would be paid $85,000.
The county received 22 applications for the position, which was advertised nationally. A human resources department employee redacted identifying information on applicants, and Check determined six applications “most fully” met minimum qualifications, Lawton told council.
A four-member review panel interviewed the six and forwarded two candidates to Lawton for his consideration. The following citizens served on the review panel: John Loyack, vice president of business affairs at King’s College; Therman Guamp, a citizen with financial and accounting experience who serves on the county’s audit committee; Joe Gibbons, county chief engineer; and Vic Mazziotti, the county’s previous interim budget/finance chief and a project consultant assisting with the county’s transition to a new integrated financial system.
Lawton said he must restart the search process if council does not confirm the nomination.
He said he is in the process of selecting applicants for the seven other division head positions required by home rule.