Realignment of its staff and approving service agreements for agencies were actions taken by the Schuylkill County commissioners at their public meeting held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

With the departure of Paul Strata, who was assistant county administrator, one of his main duties was dealing in contracts. Action was taken to delegate authority as contract designees for Paul Buber, fiscal officer, Gary Bender, grant writer, and Mark Scarbinsky, county administrator. They were given authority to approve contracts for county business under $18,900, since the new bidding threshold increased from $18,500.

Strata has joined the staff of Service Access and Management, Inc.(SAM), which provides human services to the region and also runs the business office at Rest Haven Home for the county. Sam recently constructed a $2.3 million facility in Pottsville.

Contract changes

A number of contract changes were approved for the Drug and Alcohol Agency.

Two contracts with Gaudenzia Inc., one for outpatient drug and alcohol counseling, was decreased from $75,000 to $50,000; and the contract for inpatient drug and alcohol treatment decreased from $87,165 to $72,165.

The contract with New Directions Treatment Services was increased from $10,000 to $18,000, with Advanced Treatment Systems, Lebanon Center, increased from $45,000 to $55,000; with Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., increased from $80,000 to $128,500; and with White Deer Run Inc., increased from $130,000 to $178,500.

Purchase of service agreements for the Children and Youth Service Agency were entered with the following providers:

Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems, Bradford, for enhanced foster care at $83.68 per day, emergency shelter care at $187.42 per day.

Jewish Family Services, Harrisburg, for level AA foster are at $66.14 per day, level BB foster care at $70.14 per day, and level CC foster care at $74.14 per day.

Vision Quest, Downingtown, for family strengthening program at $148 per day, Vision Quest Academy, $170.95 per day, and Madalyn Rite of Passage at $206 per day.

Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries, Mechanicsburg, for weekend alternative program at $168.38 per day

Hermatage House Youth Services, Edinboro, for girls supervised independent living Phase 2 at $97.45 per day, specialized group home and emergency shelter at $216 per day, and work readiness program at $650 per day.

Other business

Two leases were renewed to mine coal from county held land.

Selkerk Enterprises, LLC, Michael J. Rich, principal owner, to mine in Branch Township. The company has paid $8,050 to the county in royalties. Char-Pac Coal Company, George and Dawn Sorokach, principal owners, to mine coal in Foster Township. The company has paid $90,280.20 in royalties on life of its contract. The county receives $3 for each ton mined.

John Matz, director of the Emergency Management Agency, was given approval to attend the Interstate 81 coalition conferences and training session in Hagerstown, Md., on March 25 and 26.

Matz's explanation for the conference and session was the event will focus on traffic incident management programs, mapping and website improvements and emergency responder workshops that may be available for the responders along the county's section of the I81.

Approval was given to enter into an agreement with Essentials Management Solutions of Pottsville for professional services for project management for the upcoming radio project being undertaken at the 9-1-1 Center at a cost of $11,500 per month. The agreement expires Jan. 31, 2014.

David W. Fannick , of Electrical -Mechanical Sales and Service, Frackville, was granted a 30 day extension on two contracts he received from the commissioners to complete the lighting projects at the courthouse and Rest Haven Home.

Public comment

Thomas J. Malloy, of Butler Township, addressed the commissioners criticizing what he deemed was lack of exploiting the county by the Schuylkill County Tourist Agency.

He claimed the current tourist center is "hidden in the bowels of a white elephant on Centre Street in Pottsville." (The center recently moved into the new bus terminal located on South Centre Street). He claimed the county is being denied tourist revenue because of no "vigorous" promotions such as placing pamphlets and brochures in restaurants and public places and placing signs throughout the county exploiting county interests.

The commissioners thanked Malloy for his comments but did not respond.

Action taken on personnel matters were as follows:

Scott Cramer, Tamaqua, was hired as a telecommunicator 1 at the 9-1-1 Communications Center at $11.9731 per hour. Katelynn Stine, Eldred Township, was promoted by District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon, as victim advocate at $14.65 per hour.

Three employees retired, Terrie Klinger, Port Carbon, as clerk typist 1, and Philip Klinger, Port Carbon, as mapper, both in the assessment bureau; and Bruce Wolfgang, Tremont, as aging care manager ll in the Office of Senior Services.

Abigail Willard, Pottsville, resigned from the tax claim bureau as a poster of properties to be sold for delinquency in real estate tax payments; and Courteney Ditzler, Port Carbon, transferred from part time nurse's aide to full time at $11.72 per hour.