Last updated: August 18. 2013 11:35PM - 3085 Views
By - jandes@timesleader.com

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Luzerne County Council members are devoting this week to interviewing applicants who want to finish Walter Griffith’s county controller term the rest of the year.

Applications are due 4:30 p.m. tomorrow, and council will meet at 7 p.m. in the council meeting room at the courthouse to discuss how they’re going to structure the public interviews of applicants.

Council members have booked three nights of interviews — Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — starting at 6 p.m., though all three nights may not be needed.

Council plans to select someone at the Aug. 27 meeting.

• Alice Coffman, 47, a certified public accountant who has owned her own accounting/tax business — Coffman & Associates in Conyngham — since 1996, said she is considering applying for the remaining controller term.

Coffman, who also has worked as an auditor, was among six Republicans who ran for county controller in the May 2009 primary, when Griffith won the nomination.

• The county’s most veteran employee — assessor’s office bookkeeper, Phyllis Thomas — retired last month after 46 years.

Assessment Director Tony Alu said working with Thomas was a “pleasure.”

“She will be very missed. You can never really replace someone with her experience, but we wish her the best life has to offer,” Alu said.

With Thomas’ departure, information technology specialist Bob Connors, who started in 1971, is now the county employee with the most seniority, followed by payroll coordinator Patty Kopeck (1972) and county Planning Zoning Director Adrian Merolli (1972).

• Eleven employees were hired in July, according to county Manager Robert Lawton’s latest personnel report: Patricia Gozikowski, aging senior center services manager, $34,113; Cynthia Howe, aging care supervisor, $34,113; Stephen Elston, mental health caseworker, $32,116; Ashley Ferretti, prothonotary clerk, $22,500; Brian Travis, part-time sheriff deputy, $11.50/hour; and six 911 dispatchers at $25,500 each — Janice Davis, Roseann Garrison, Kristy Kalafut, James Grady Jr., Jennifer Paull and Cindie Zupancic.

• The county has wrapped up interviews for the vacant 911 executive director and chief engineer positions, and job offers should be extended shortly to the chosen applicants, said county Operational Services Division Head Christopher Belleman.

Three engineer and two 911 director applicants were interviewed, he said.

• County Court Administrator Michael Shucosky said he has recommended the administration create a task force to discuss security in all county offices in light of the recent shooting at a municipal meeting in Monroe County.

County Councilman Eugene Kelleher told his council colleagues at Tuesday’s meeting that his wife’s first cousin and her husband were both shot at the Monroe County meeting. His wife’s cousin is recovering in the hospital, and her husband was killed.

“It really puts things in perspective,” Kelleher said. “I respect people’s rights to disagree, and I take input to heart and think it over. But can’t we be civil the way we talk to one another?”

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