Contracts were entered by the Schuylkill County commissioners with three providers for general maintenance on the tower at the county prison in action taken at Wednesday's public meeting held at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Rapco Environmental Services Inc., Allentown, was awarded a contract for $68,113; Sherer Building Contracting, LLC, New Tripoli, for $38,467; and Beth-Allen Scaffold and Equipment Inc., Allentown, for $23,500.

Work is to be done on a spiral staircase which leads from the prison to the tower which is 60 feet high and overlooks the prison compound and has a bird's-eye view of the City of Pottsville. At one time there was a problem with a large nest of pigeons who made the tower their home and had to be away and it was a monumental task to clean up their droppings.

Prison Board Chairman President Judge William E. Baldwin expressed concern of the pigeons returning. The prison was built before the Civil War and has a tower which resembles the Tower of London.

The commissioners approved the extension of the prison food service agreement with Compass Group, USA Inc., with a bureau in Camp Hill, at the same rate $1.248 a meal. Last year the food bill cost $566,396.

Other business

A cooperation agreement was approved to have the county's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) director administer the CDBG programs for West Penn and Pine Grove townships. Both townships, because the 2010 census, showed their populations increased to more than 4,000 residents. That qualified them to present their own grant applications to the state agency for CBDG funds for projects and no longer have to depend on handout by the county, which administers grants to municipalities whose population is under 4,000.

Because of the experience of Gary Bender, the county CDBG administrator, in knowing what projects are eligible to receive funds and the procedure for applying these funds the two townships are seeking his expertise.

On behalf of the Children and Youth Services agencies the commissioners approved for purchase of service agreements as follows:

Alternative Rehabilitation Communities, Harrisburg, for residential quarters for juvenile assigned by the court at a rate of $61.60 per day and for residential involving special issues at $208.77 per day; Family Care For Children and Youth, Milton, foster care for infant and mother at $34.95, family based services at $66.42 per day and mother with non-dependent infant at $101.69 per day; Perseus House, Erie, for shelter at $187.06 per day; Reading Specialists, and Reading, for transportation at per unit cost of $30, for polygraph examination at $275 per unit and comprehensive evaluation at $2,500 per unit.

On behalf of Rest Haven Home and Hospital a contract was entered with Wood Company, an indirect subsidiary of Sodexo Operations, LLC, Gaithersburg, Md., for the provision of food and nutrition management services. The contract is for $54,650.42.

The commissioners approved a grant agreement in the amount of $16,000 received from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania to correct life safety deficiencies at the home.

A proclamation was adopted proclaiming the week of March 19 to 25 as "Daffodil Days" in Schuylkill County to encourage citizens in supporting the American Cancer Society's mission to find a cure for cancer and funds raised from the sale of daffodils will be used in developing new treatments.

Personnel matters

Action taken on personnel matters were as follows:

Rest Haven Home - Tresa Kieffer, Minersville, hired as a full-time nurse's aide and Holly Jaswinski, Pottsville, transferred from part time nurse's aide to full time and both salaries set at $11.72 per hour. Diane Bredbenner, Mahanoy Plane, Gilberton, resigned as a part time nurse's aide and Sheena Witman, Orwigsburg, received a salary increase to $15.99 per hour after passing the state board examination and is employed as a part time licensed practical nurse.

Drug and Alcohol Agency - Philip Gaughan, West Mahanoy Township, resigned as a case management specialist.

Treasurer's Office - Bradley Gotshall, Frackville, was transferred from the position of courier with the Human Services Department to part time clerk in the treasurer's office at $13.3086 per hour.

Recorder of Deeds - Gerard Klema, Norwegian Township, promoted from clerk to clerk typist and salary set at $13.3086 per hour.

Office of Senior Services - Donna Marie Lerner, Tamaqua, appointed as an unpaid intern; Kelly Hoptak, Orwigsburg, resigned as a clerk typist; and Dawn Williams, New Philadelphia, hired to the vacancy at $10,56 per hour.

County Prison - Marie Lesusky, Mahanoy City, hired as a per diem clerk at $12 per hour.

Member back

Minority Commissioner Gary Hess, Democrat, resumed his chair as he returned after two weeks in the hospital recovering from blood clots. "I wish to thank all those who sent well wish cards and my fellow commissioners for keeping me informed while I was hospitalized. It is good to be back", Hess commented

The parent of an inmate beaten by guards in the county prison several months ago inquired why the guard, who was dismissed, was able to collect unemployment insurance.

The question was asked by Stephen Moyer, of Pottsville, who claimed his son suffered serious injuries when the guards entered his cell and gave him a sound beating. County Solicitor Alvin Marshall said it was not the commissioners decision but a referee who heard the case on appeal before a state board who made the ruling.

Commissioner Chairman Charles Staudenmeier told the parent it involved personnel matters which he could not discuss in public. The parent also raised the same question before the prison board and received the same explanation. President Judge William E. Baldwin, chairman of the prison board, offered to meet with the parent to explain what took place at the hearing.