By Rick Hiduk
(Also published in the Rocket-Courier)
Several promotions, lateral transfers and new hires dominated the agenda at the March 5 meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners. Two changes were noted in the register/recorders office alone.
Judy Barziloski was transferred from the register/recorders office to the assessment office. Valerie Valvano, in turn, was hired to replace Barziloski. Cherilyn Fortney was approved for a full-time position with Children & Youth Services to replace Jennifer Gabriel, who has taken a position in the juvenile probation department. Dave Williams, an employee of the Tunkhannock School District, was promoted to a full-time position at the courthouse as an evening maintenance worker.
The commissioners ratified action taken at their Feb. 28 work session in which they hired Travis Eckersley as a full-time assistant public defender. Commissioner Tom Henry noted that Eckersley has been working with the public defender’s office for several years and has helped to reduce a backlog of cases.
An individual who had been proposed two weeks ago as the new ag conservation resource director has declined the position, so the commissioners confirmed that Rachel Gonzalez, who was the ag board’s second choice from more than 60 applicants, had been hired for the job, effective March 5.
In their individual reports, the commissioners shared their positive experiences as guests of the recent Drug Treatment Court graduation banquet and a committee meeting with Bob Lizza to design three large murals depicting Wyoming County’s historic and cultural icons that will cover the west side and back of the Wyoming County Cultural Center in Tunkhannock.
Henry related that he was looking forward to attending the monthly HOPE Coalition meeting at the Dietrich Theater on Thursday morning. The group is in the process of “mapping” drug-related issues across the county to identify clusters.
Meanwhile, the Luzerne/Wyoming Counties Drug & Alcohol Commission has made progress in installing video conferencing at the prison to assess the mental health status of some individuals who have been arrested. “There’s nothing the same as talking to someone in person,” Henry remarked, “but if we have to use this to keep someone out of jail, we can do that.”
Chief clerk Bill Gaylord suggested that the board consider recognizing Jim Welch for his 71 years of service to the Triton Hose company in Tunkhannock, which includes stints as chief and president. The commissioners were receptive to the idea but were cautioned by audience member Tina Henning that there are likely several other long-time fire companies members across the county who should be recognized at the same time.
Under the category of correspondence, Henry read a letter from Eaton Township officials thanking county GIS coordinator Chas Mead for working with them to better understand the new FEMA flood maps, which will lead to every municipality in the county along the Susquehanna River adopting new flood plain ordinances. Mead and county EMA director Gene Dziak have attended numerous public meetings to answer questions for residents about the new flood maps.