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Home rule panel eyes top posts

Study will focus on comparable jobs in other home rule counties.

In addition to the top manager, Luzerne County government will have eight division heads when home rule takes effect next January.

The county’s home rule transition personnel and recruiting subcommittee will help craft a plan to search for all nine, so the group decided Thursday to round up job descriptions and salaries of similar positions in other home rule counties as a starting guide.

Under home rule, the county will have heads of a law office, public defender’s office and six divisions: administrative services, budget and financial services, correctional services, human services, judicial services and records and operational services.

The group agreed that a national search must be done for the manager, though it might not be necessary for the division heads if there are enough qualified local contenders.

Subcommittee Chairman Rick Morelli asked the group to discuss options to seek applicants, such as recruitment companies and advertising venues.

Subcommittee member Elizabeth Leo, an attorney with human resources experience, said recruitment companies are effective but expensive.

For example, recruitment companies would “try to get a feel for what the county is like” to sell the area to applicants who would have to relocate here, including those with families, she said. Compilation of that regional profile may cost additional money, she said.

Professional recruiters examine applicants’ credentials and perform personality tests to present top choices on a “silver platter,” but the fee structures vary, she said.

At Morelli’s request, Leo agreed to compile a rough list of recruitment company fees to give the subcommittee an idea of the potential cost.

Subcommittee member Richard Heffron agreed to prepare a list of publications that might be advertising the positions and their estimated fees.

The county manager will be chosen by the 11 county council members elected in November.

The manager will then select the eight division heads, though his or her choices will be subject to council confirmation.

Subcommittee member Maryanne Petrilla, the county commissioner chairwoman, told the group that some existing county positions will eventually be eliminated with the consolidation of departments into the new divisions. The new county manager may decide to choose some current managers as division heads if those workers “prove themselves” under the new administration, she said.

If you go

The home rule transition personnel and recruiting subcommittee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 17 in the commissioners’ meeting room at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.

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