Approval to ratify a negotiated settlement between two correctional officers at the Schuylkill County Prison, who were terminated, was granted by the county commissioners at their work session held Wednesday morning at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The terms negotiated as presented to the commissioners by county solicitor Robert Frycklund was that the former guards agreed to withdraw their respective union arbitration claims that their firing was not justified and seeking reinstatement of their employment in exchange for the county to withdraw its opposition to their respective claims for temporary unemployment compensation benefits.

Other business

Approval was given to William Liptok, public works director, to enter into an agreement with Antz Plumbing Heating Energy Systems Inc., of Shenandoah, for duct cleaning at the county prison as recommended by the prison board. According to Liptok the cleaning will include eight HVAC systems, kitchen exhaust and intake, gym and common areas, two make up air units and exhaust fans for cells. The cost is $21,705.

The commissioners discussed a number of issues on which they will take action at next week's public meeting.

Frycklund asked them to approve a stipulation to settle the assessment appeals of Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Company property in Tamaqua. The approximate 11 acres which had been exempt from real estate tax as it was protected by KOZ (Keystone Opportunity Zone) which expired. Under the agreement only 5.0 acres remain qualified for exemption with the remaining and the parking lot across portions of two parcels will now be taxable.

Gary Bender, grant writer, is asking the commissioners adopt a resolution to allow him to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for the 2011 Community Development Block Grant Program in amount of $341,114 in order to fund storm water projects in McAdoo and Middleport boroughs and Frailey and West Mahanoy townships.

Bender also requested action be taken next week to approve advertising for a public meeting and also approve a resolution authorizing the submission of a grant application to the Department of Community and Economic Development for the Home Community Housing Development Organization grant in amount of $100,000. According to Jeffrey A. Feeser, director of Schuylkill Community Action, the grant would provide operating assistance to support affordable housing activities and enable it to pursue community development opportunities such as production of homeownership and rental projects in the county.

Martina Chwastiak, Human Resources/Risk Manager, discussed with the commissioners hiring Attorney Al Marshall as county appointed arbitrator in the arbitration to be held for a new contract between the county and its two court related unions, unit one and two, which covers the employees working under the authority of the courts. Their three year contract has expired.

Also, Chwastiak asked for approval of an agreement with Capital Blue Cross for medical coverage for the inmates in the county prison at a rate of 14.4 per paid claim with a $5,000 annual minimum which would be retroactive to Jan. 1, through Dec. 31.

John Richmonds, director of the adult probation department, sought permission to purchase a 2011 model vehicle for the department through the state contracts program at a cost of $24,057.44. He reported this will be no expense to the county as the funds are from the offender supervision fee (each person placed on probation by the county judges must pay a $50 monthly supervision fee).

Hirings reviewed

The commissioners reviewed a list of hirings for various departments on which action will be taken next week.

Office of Senior Services asked hiring Breittan Lawall, Barnesville, as a social caseworker intern and the promotion of Beth Caims, Pottsville, from social caseworker intern to aging case manager 2.

Rest Haven Home asks for the hiring of Sarah E. East, Pottsville, as a full time social service caseworker; Michelle Hummel, Saint Clair, part time licensed practical nurse; the transfer of Crystal Wallick, Hamburg, and Carmella Mattera, New Philadelphia, from part time to full time licensed practical nurse; Elaine Schaeffer, Orwigsburg, former director of Rest Haven Home, who retired, to a per diem position, and announced Nancy Schneck, Pine Grove, is retiring as a full time housekeeper. Rest Haven is also seeking wage adjustments for six part time nurse's aides.

Juvenile Probation Department is seeking approval of Stacey Schlauch, Zion Grove, from juvenile probation officer 1 to 2; adult probation department announced Mark Ian Mahal, Minersville, is resigning as a probation officer aide.

Warden Eugene Berdanier announced the resignation of Charles Foster, Schuylkill Haven, as a correctional officer.

The Domestic Relations Department announced the resignation of Jillian Symons, Minersville, as a clerk.