Because there is a need for expediency the Schuylkill County court agreed to hear the mandamus suit filed by the county commissioners against Controller Melinda Kantner for failure to get out the annual financial report on county expenditures on time. The report was due to be filed in the county court July 1.

Judge Charles M. Miller handed down an order calling a pre-trial conference to be held Friday in his chambers at the courthouse in Pottsville and issued direction to both parties on how to proceed.

The order directs each party to submit to the court with a copy to each other party a pre-trial memoramdum conforming to the rules of court at the time of the pre-trial conference. The memorandum must cite authority to sustain the principal legal propositions that will be advanced during trial.

The order also directs copies of reports from all expert witnesses intended to be called at the trtial are required to be attached to the memorandum of the party intending to call such witnesses. Also, the attorneys who will actively try the case shall attend the pre-trial conference and the commissioners and controller if they do not attend to be immediately available by telephone during the time of the conference. Failure to comply with the court's order may result in the imposition of sanctions.

The mandamus was filed last week charging the controller with "refusing" to complete state mandated financial reports. Requests for extension by the controller were denied by Judge D. Michael Stine. Kantner has blamed the auditor hired by the commissioners to make the audit with not having any expereince in doing county audits.

In another suit filed in 2009, this one by the controller against the commissioners, over reducing her auditing staff from two to one, the six county judges reclused themselves and the matter will be heard by a seniior judge from another county in November.