Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton has started a nationwide search for eight new division heads required by home rule.
Interim appointees have been filling some division head positions since home rule took effect a year ago, but permanent placements were put off until salaries were budgeted for 2013.
Advertisements in area newspapers will begin Sunday, followed by online advertisements with the Pennsylvania County Commissioners' Association, the International City/County Management Association and National Association of Counties, Lawton said.
The openings also will be advertised through applicable national trade associations. The advertisements will state the positions and salary ranges, referring applicants to detailed job descriptions and application information on the county's website, www.luzernecounty.org.
The first review of applicants will be Jan. 28. People may apply after that, but submission before Jan. 28 will ensure fullest consideration, he said.
I am looking for the most promising candidates with the best records of accomplishment that we can find, Lawton said.
It's an unusual opportunity for a slate of administrators to simultaneously start restructuring together, he said. Each will be setting precedence organizing their division under the new government structure, he said.
County employees are encouraged to apply. Existing employment won't be a barrier or provide special treatment, he said.
If we promote from within, he said, they will know they were the top candidate and that they got the job through free and open competition.
Under the charter, the division heads are selected by the manager with council confirmation. The manager must base the appointments on demonstrated abilities and qualifications, and the individuals hired serve at the pleasure of the county manager, the charter says.
Applicants must submit a comprehensive résumé, salary history, six professional references and a compelling cover letter relating experience in the knowledge, skills and abilities listed in the job description, Lawton said.
The human resources department will screen submissions to determine if the applicants meet minimum education and experience requirements, he said. Well-qualified applicants will be invited to interviews before a panel of potential colleagues and peers, both in and out of county government.
The panels – one for each position – also will recommend applicants for reference and background checks to human resources, he said.
Lawton said he won't get involved until the panels recommend top applicants for his consideration. He then will conduct additional interviews and perform all necessary due diligence.
Lawton said he is guaranteeing confidentiality to all applicants unless he is recommending an individual for appointment to council.
The division head positions, along with the salary ranges:
• Administrative services, correctional services and judicial services and records – $60,000-$75,000
• Operational services and human services – $70,000-$85,000
• Chief solicitor, chief public defender and budget and financial services – $75,000-$90,000
The solicitor and public defender must be full-time with no outside legal practices.