A $16.3 million dollar contract was approved with Motorola Solutions, Inc., by the Schuylkill County Commissioners at their work session to upgrade the 9-1-1 Communication Center's radio communication network to comply, in action taken at the board's work session held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville. The majority of the work will be performed on the series of towers located throughout the county to provide better communication for the first responders to enhance a better public safety communication. Monies will come from an $18 million bond issue the commissioners floated recently.

At the request of the county's solicitor's office the board of county commissioners approved and authorized the execution of a stipulation and joint motion for agreed court order in connection with the settlement of the suit brought by John M. and Andrea A. Gutsie, 9 Plantation Drive, Barnesville, Ryan Township, dealing with the market value and assessment of their home for tax purposes. The stipulation approves decreasing the market value of the home which was set by the Schuylkill County Assessment Appeals Board from $186,404 to $167,140 effective January 1, 2013 for the tax years 2012 and thereafter. The stipulation will now be sent to court for approval. Early this year the Mahanoy Area School District filed an appeal with the assessment appeals board and on September 6, 2012 the board fixed the fair market value at $186,404 and the assessment at $93,200 from which the property owners appealed.

The commissioners approved to amend an agreement with Padfield Plumbing and Heating Company for additional work at the county prison in amount of $934.21 to replace three hydronic valve actuators and a series of remote bolt temperature sensors to regulate the hot water flow to the hydronic coil. The increase raises the cost of the contract to $20,723.68.

The commissioners terminated a contract with L. Samel Deegan, CPA, of Pottsville, which had one year left. The company was hired four years ago by the former board of commissioners to perform the annual audit of expenditures by the county as required by a state law. The firm got involved in a controversy when then County Controller Melinda Kantner which brought about delays and even a court action. Kantner and two of the three commissioners, Mantura Gallagher and Francis McAndrews are no longer in government.

Appointments were made to various boards as follows:

Solid Waste Advisory Committee - Larry Wittig, Tamaqua Transfer Station; Lee Raring, County Recycling Coordinator; Steve Field, Weiner and Metal Corporation, Mike Devlin, Schuylkill Haven Borough; Bob Stablum, SKIP (Schuylkill Keep It Pretty), Chris Brommer, Blue Mountain Area High School, Brett Dexter, CES Landfill, Jim Thomas, Cass Township; Lori Van Hoekelen, LVH Industries; Tom Palamar, City of Pottsville and Jonas Kreitzer and Mike Walborn, Kreitzer Sanitation, all for five year terms.

Schuylkill County Transportation Authority - Nicholas E. Troutman, Pottsville, and Robert Carl, Orwigsburg, both to five year terms.

Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority - Darlene Dolzani, Orwigsburg; Karl R Kramer, Schuylkill Haven and G. Robert Sterling, Pottsville, all for five year terms.

Luzerne/Schuylkill County Workforce Investment Board - Martha Harron, Hazleton, Regional Community Relations Director, for five year term.

Action taken on personal matters were:

Tax Claim Office, Amanda McNulty, Wayne Township, hired as a per diem research clerk at $8.50 per hour.

Tax Assessment Bureau - Promoted Deanna Carl, Schuylkill Haven, from secretary at the Emergency Management Department to interim mapping specialist trainee at $18.9244 per hour.

Children and Youth Services Agency - Promoted Amanda Brach, Pottsville, from county caseworker 1 to caseworker 2 at $18.0415 per hour. The agency also announced Michael Cutler Coaldale, resigned as a social services aide.

Rest Haven Home and Hospital - Reported the resignation of Denise Arndt, Cressona, as a part time nurse's aide.

The above appointments were under the jurisdiction of the county commissioners. Actions taken by other departments were as follows:

Recorder of Deeds Office - Promoted Gerald Klema, Norwegian Township, from clerk typist 1 to clerk typist 2 at $14.61 per hour and hired Jo Ann Reed, Pottsville, as clerk typist 1 at $13.31 per hour.

District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon announced the promotion of Attorney Thomas J. Campion, Norwegian Township to position of first assistant district attorney at a salary of $64,900 per year.

Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier announced the courthouse will be closed Tuesday, Christmas Day. The courthouse will be open Monday with the hours to be announced.