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County notebook: the county of Luzerne is looking for an IT director

Luzerne County is seeking applicants for the position of chief information officer, which has been advertised for between $85,000 and $90,000, according to an online publication.

Ray Kase has been director since May. He informed the county that he planned to leave but indicated that he would remain in the position until the end of the year, the human resources department said.

“It’s going to be tough to replace him,” County Executive Randy Robertson told the county council last week. Robertson praised Kase’s work performance.

The position is posted in the career opportunities section of human resources at alfalfacounty.orgwith resume due November 16.

council meeting

The county council will hold a vote meeting and business session from 6 p.m. Wednesday, deviating from the usual Tuesday evening schedule due to the general election.

The final part of Wednesday’s business session will focus on the 2023 budget proposals for the Operational Services Division, which covers 911, Boiler Room, Emergency Management Agency, and these departments: Building/Ground, Engineering, Planning/ zoning, road/bridge and solid waste.

The meeting is being held at the County Courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre. Instructions for attending the meeting remotely are posted under the Board Online Meetings link at alfalfacounty.org.

Monetization

Former County Councilman Linda McClosky Houck submitted a written public comment for Wednesday’s meeting urging council members to reject monetization.

Acknowledging there are pros and cons, County Council Deputy Chairman John Lombardo said he wanted to explore a cash advance on overdue tax receipts. Known as “monetization,” the move could generate millions of dollars in upfront cash to help avoid a county property tax hike in 2023, Lombardo said.

The subject will be discussed during Tuesday’s working session.

McClosky Houck, a member of the self-government implementation board from 2012 to 2021, said voters embraced the self-government structure to address many issues in county government, including practices budgets.

“One of the first priorities of the 2012 board and its successors was to adopt realistic and balanced budgets that included ‘best practices’ that would ensure the ability of future boards to continue on a solid financial path and recover from the sins of the past,” she wrote. “Monetization was one of the first practices to be phased out.”

She likened monetization to the government equivalent of a payday loan that “people with weak money management skills turn to for an immediate but short-sighted quick fix to instant problems.”

“We are committed to improving the county’s financial practices and have made some tough decisions to pave the way for a better financial future for this county. I urge you, as you consider the proposal to monetize, reject it and continue to move Luzerne County in a fiscally responsible direction, she wrote.

Vacant jobs

The county had 213 vacancies in a snapshot reading completed Oct. 24, according to the county manager’s monthly division manager report.

There were 211 vacancies at the Sept. 26 reading, which was the first time the administration had begun publicly releasing a monthly tally.

The report covers departments under the supervision of Robertson, County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce and Comptroller Walter Griffith and does not follow court branches.

As of September, the county’s social services division had the highest number of vacancies — 117 — largely due to continued efforts to fill vacancies at Children and Youth, which had 72 vacancies, according to the report.

The operational services division had 42 openings, including 30 in 911 and eight in the roads and bridges department, he said.

There are 20 openings in the district attorney’s office, 11 in corrections and eight in the public defender’s office, he said.

The full report is posted with the agenda for Wednesday’s council business meeting at alfalfacounty.org.

Contact Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.