Carbon County has hired yet another new animal warden.

During the county commissioners' meeting, the board voted to hire Thomas J. Connors of Weatherly as the county animal warden at the animal shelter in Nesquehoning, effective Aug. 20, pending a pre-employment drug screening. The position officially became vacant last week, after the board voted on an employment separation with Debbie Craver, the former animal warden, after personnel issues arose.

Commissioner Thomas J. Gerhard said that Connors has experience with animal shelters, having worked with the Weatherly Animal Shelter for over 10 years. During that time, he was instrumental in bringing in money to help cover shelter expenses.

Connors currently serves as the Weatherly mayor.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein, chairman, said that Connors was one of about 25 applicants for the position, and the county felt he was most qualified.

He noted that Connors was made aware that this may not be a long-term position because the county has heard of a possible 501c3 organization forming which would take over operations at the shelter.

Until anything materializes, the county will continue to operate the shelter with Connors in charge of the operations, including scheduling volunteers, overseeing the care for the animals and other daily tasks.

Gerhard added that the county's action is only the first step of many that it needs to make in regard to the shelter.

"It's going to be a long process and it took us a little while to hire someone because we wanted to make sure we hired the right person," he said.

Gerhard commended the volunteers; as well as the two county maintenance workers, Tristan Balliet and Bob Halenar, for their efforts at the shelter.

Nothstein said that as of Wednesday, the shelter had only 14 dogs, which is down from 40 two weeks ago. Most were adopted, and some were sent to rescues.

"Things are getting better," Nothstein said. "We see a light at the end of the tunnel."

He also commended the volunteers because they have worked tirelessly to get the canines adopted so quickly.

"They have done a fantastic job," he said.

When asked if the county will again start accepting owner surrendered dogs once Connors begins, Nothstein said it will not until all issues, including writing policies and job descriptions, are resolved.

Connors is the third person hired for the animal warden position since former animal Warden Bruce May retired last September.

Problems with getting employees state certified; as well as personnel issues have caused the quick turnover in animal wardens.

For the last two weeks, the shelter has been operating under the supervision of volunteers and two county maintenance workers.

In a related matter, Nothstein announced that the animal shelter fundraising committee raised $1,112 at the Carbon County Fair, which took place Aug. 7 through Aug. 12.

Nothstein thanked all volunteers who help the county in various areas, such as boards, the shelter, and other operations.

The county also accepted the resignation of Marian Hoffner of Palmerton from the Parks and Recreation Commission. Her resignation was effective Aug. 8.

The board then appointed Terry Warnagaris of Weatherly as Hoffner's replacement.