Residents are able to ride the Schuylkill Transportation System (STS) buses free today anywhere in the county, thanks to a proclamation passed Wednesday by county commissioners, declaring June 16 as "Dump the Pump Day."

It represents the county's participation marking the Sixth Annual National "Dump The Pump Day" to help people save money, protect the environment, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve the quality of life for all Americans.

It is estimated for every $1 invested in public transportation, $4 is generated in economic returns, helps reduce the country's carbon footprint and saves 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year.

In other action taken by the board, attorney Claude A. Lord Shields, Pottsville, former county district attorney who lost his bid in the recent primary election for a seat on the county judicial bench, was hired as an independent contractor to serve as defense counsel for criminal defendants who qualify for representation by a public defender but who the office cannot represent due to a conflict of interest.

Shields will also provide legal representation of criminal defendants in capital cases (murder). Payment of non-capital cases will be $1,000 per month.

Shields shall annually provides 160 hours of work in the representation of defendants in assigned cases. Shields is also being recommended to provide legal services for the Office of Senior Services at $90 per hour with a contract cap of $13,500.

Also at Wednesday's meeting:

Ÿ The Office of Senior Services Agency, which serves the senior citizens of the county, the commissioners approved a fee for service contract with Cadiac Science Corporation of Bothell, Wash., for the purchase of 14 automated external defibrillators and accompanying accessories at a cost of $18,389.

Ÿ County prison Warden Eugene Berdanier was granted permission to solicit for bids for uniforms for prison employees.

Ÿ The Schuylkill County Tax Assessment Bureau was given approval to accept private sale bids on four properties. Christopher W. Selinsky bid $1,200 for a lot containing 0.06 of an acre n Crescent Mountain Road in Union Township owned by Cove Village Association; Michael Benjamin and Tabitha Murphy submitted a bid of $1,500 for property at 217 S. Main St., Shenandoah, owned by Pauline Wozniak; Stephanie S. Olt submitted a bid of $200 for a property at 729 Mountain Road, Washington Township, owned by Krista and John Haldiman; and Centre Street Trust submitted a bid of $350 for property at 839 W. Centre St., Mahanoy Township, owned by Upper Dauphin Enterprises Inc.

Ÿ An agreement was approved with PPL Energy Plus for retail natural gas for the courthouse, county prison and Rest Haven Home commencing Nov. 1, through October 31, 2013. Lisa Mahall, county engineer, reported purchasing now for the next two years will lock in the rate.

Ÿ A payment of $17,601.13 to Dallagos Back-Hoe Services, Marlin, Norwegian Township, was approved for infrastructure repair on the courthouse property.

Ÿ The commissioners also reviewed for action at next week's public meeting contracts for Office of Senior Services, Children and Youth Services, Drug and Alcohol Agency, Human Services Department, Rest Haven Home, Juvenile Justice Office and proposed coal land lease renewals.