Since Lansford Borough secretary-treasurer Renee Slakoper left in May, and office clerk Bridget Cannon shortly thereafter, assistant secretary Karen Burrell has been shouldering the workload of three people.

She's doing an admirable job, council members said, but bills are piling up, correspondence is lagging and bank deposits are not being immediately logged. The borough needs to hire a replacement fast.

Council received three applications from its first round of advertising for the job. Two of those were incomplete, so council accepted one and will again seek applicants. The deadline to apply is June 21. Council meets next on June 22.

But until then, council needs someone to help Burrell.

On Wednesday, Jim Thorpe borough manager Wesley A. Johnson attended council's regular meeting to offer his help. The offer came in two forms: Johnson invited Lansford to join in a shared services/cooperative agreement that would have his borough's secretary-treasurer help Lansford's. Lansford council agreed to take the invitation to committee.

At the end of the meeting, Johnson offered his own help, at $10 an hour.

Council deferred a decision on his offer until all of its members could consider it. Council President Adam Webber and Councilmen Andrew Snyder and Lenny Kovach were absent from Wednesday's meeting.

In the meantime, council agreed to allow Councilwoman Mary Kruczek to be bonded and go into the office to help get things organized. On Tuesday, Dana Brubeck, recommended by solicitor Michael Greek, got the payroll ready.

Johnson told council that Jim Thorpe outsources its payroll and other administrative tasks. That way, he said, the borough saves money by freeing the other employees to do other jobs and is assured that taxes are paid promptly and correctly.

"I think it's a savings, and it gives peace of mind," he said.

Lansford Councilman Tommy Vadyak favored that approach for his own borough, saying the borough could save money by not having to pay benefits.

in other matters Wednesday, council:

Ÿ Agreed to allow property owner Paul Lazaro to block off a portion of Walnut Street between Kline and Bertsch streets for about 5 hours on Friday and Saturday to perform maintenance work on his building. Lazaro will use a 60-foot bucket truck;

Ÿ Appointed Irma Leibensperger and Gwyneth A. Collevechio to the Parks and Recreation Commission;

Ÿ Agreed to schedule a special meeting to discuss borough swimming pool operations;

Ÿ Agreed to allow ice cream vendor Michele Allen to pay a one-time fee of $25 to sell the frozen treats from her truck during the summer. The fee applies to this season only.

Ÿ Agreed to shift its bulk mailing from the U.S. Post Office in Lansford to the one in Lehighton. The U.S. Post Office gave the borough a choice of either Lehighton or Hazleton, as the Lansford office will no longer do bulk mailing.