The new Carbon County warden is ready for his new adventure.
During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board welcomed Joseph G. Gross of Nazareth, who was hired by the county prison board last week as the new warden for the Carbon County Correctional Facility.
Gross said he is looking forward to the adventure he is about to embark on in the county.
"There will be some changes," he said. "It will take a little process, but I'm sure in no time I'll have the prison operating the way the county commissioners, as well as myself, want it to be.
"Thank you for the opportunity. I look forward to many years of service with you."
Gross will begin his new position on Sept. 7.
Currently, the correctional facility is being operated by acting warden Timothy Fritz, who took over in April after former Warden James Youngkin retired on March 16.
When asked about what his goals are, Gross said that he wants to take a look at the current policies and see what needs to be revamped.
"I have to review the policies at hand," he said. "My goal is to put in effective policies to effectively and safely run that correctional facility. My major goal is to revamp some, if not more than some, of the policies so that everyone that works there and the citizenry at large can feel safe."
The commissioners, as well as members of the prison board also welcomed Gross to the county.
Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said, "We collectively have the utmost respect for you and your career and your capabilities. We're looking forward to a nice adventure with you together at the prison."
Commissioners Charles Getz and Wayne Nothstein echoed O'Gurek's thoughts.
Getz said he is looking forward to the new warden.
Nothstein invited him to the upcoming prison board meeting, slated for Aug. 25.
County administrator Randall Smith added that he hopes that he is part of Gross' adventure as he transitions into the warden position.
"I want to work with you closely and I'm sure we'll have a good working relationship," Smith said. "Welcome aboard."
One challenge that Gross will face when he takes over as the new warden is to operate the prison in conjunction with the annual $4.2 million budget.
Gross has been a police sergeant for the City of Bethlehem for the last 20 years.
Prior to that, he was a Northampton Police officer and was a sergeant at the Lehigh County Prison, Allentown, for three and a half years.
Gross is also a veteran of the U.S. Army military police, having served from 1980-1983. He holds certifications from the Allentown Police Academy; Lehigh Carbon Community College, where he received an associate degree in criminal justice; and Moravian College, where he received a bachelor's degree in sociology.
In a related matter, the board set the salary for the new warden.
During the monthly meeting of the county salary board, the board approved a motion to change the salary of the warden from $48,089.60 per year to $51,022.40 per year, effective Aug. 5.