Wyoming County Leadership Surprises Business Women

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Wyoming County commissioner Judy Mead (left, foreground) reads a proclamation marking Wyoming County’s involvement in National Business Women’s Week to (continuing clockwise) commissioner Tom Henry, TBPW member Gloria Pasternak, chief clerk Bill Gaylord, TBPW members Michelle Shotwell, Tammy Balewski, Elaine Walker and Mary Bishop and solicitor Paul Litwin III.

Photos and story by Rick Hiduk

(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)

When Commissioner Judy Mead read a proclamation on Tuesday morning acknowledging Oct. 21 to 27 as National Business Women’s Week in Wyoming County, she was hailed by representatives of the Tunkhannock Business & Professional Women (TBPW) for her 18 years on the commissioner’s board and as a Tunkhannock business owner. Their assumption that Mead was unique in her status more or less backfired on them.

The proclamation recognizes women in Wyoming County as an “integral part of the economic engine” who have “worked diligently in pursuit of equal opportunity.” Furthermore, the document hails women who “develop and lead successful businesses” as “highly educated and trained professionals who distinguish themselves as leaders.”

Now we just need to get more women working in the courthouse,” said TBPW member Elaine Walker.

We have 121 women working in the county,” chief clerk Bill Gaylord quickly retorted. He added that there are comparatively 91 male employees. “I have to turn these numbers into the Department of Labor every month.”

Seemingly surprised by the figures, the women seated at the board table with the commissioners looked to Mead for corroboration. She quickly reeled off an abbreviated roster of female leaders in Wyoming County government.

Krystle Kowalczyk is the Director of Probation. Catherine Voda and Kelley Cosner run the Assessment Office. Judy Shupp, Ashley Darby and Laura Dickson serve as the county auditors. Florence Kellett is the Director of Elections & Voter Registration, and Lynelle Farber is the county’s Planning Director. The staff of the Prothonotary, Clerk of Courts, and Clerk of Orphan Courts office outnumbers men three to one. Tax claims are handled by Patricia Mead, who also serves as Country Treasure with assistance from Carol Bardzel. And that’s just in the courthouse.

We have a lot of powerful women in our county,” said Commissioner Tom Henry.

I don’t think the public is aware of that,” TBPW member Mary Bishop responded. “It’s interesting that it isn’t just secretaries.”

Walker agreed, acknowledging her faux pas. “I said there weren’t enough women in the courthouse, and I found out there was,” she laughed.

Maybe we should have a movement to give men equal representation,” Henry joked.

Photo by Rick Hiduk

Marking Wyoming County’s involvement in National Business Women’s Week are (seated, from left) commissioners Judy Mead and Tom Henry, and Tunkhannock Business & Professional Women member Gloria Pasternak, (standing) TBPW members Michelle Shotwell, Tammy Balewski, Elaine Walker and Mary Bishop.

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