Schuylkill County officials threaten to sue controller for not paying bills
The Schuylkill County Commissioners are threatening to take legal action against the county controller if she refuses to honor their order to pay certain outstanding bills.
The long discussion took place at the public meeting held by the commissioners in the Schuylkill Township municipal building in MaryD, Wednesday.
The commissioners have been holding meetings in different parts of the county during the year to allow citizens to attend to see how government operates. About 20 citizens attended the MaryD session and they got an earful.
The meeting was conducted by Commissioner Mantura Gallagher and Frank Staudenmeier. Commissioner Francis McAndrew was absent.
Because of the delay of adoption of a state budget, certain agencies of the county have not received funds and bills are mounting. The commissioners approved payment of certain bills, totaling $31,137.23, but Controller Melinda Kantner refuses to pay them because they were not accumulated under a specific contract. The commissioners also approved borrowing $11 million to keep agencies providing services until the state budget is resolved.
Paul Straka, the county budget director, said that for more than 20 years the county has been purchasing office supplies under a state contract so there is no need for a special contract. The state acquires the supplies under a bid and then offers them to the counties at cost savings.
County Solicitor Eric M. Mika ruled that the transactions are legal and directed the bills be paid. Mika said if the controller refuses to pay the bills the county can proceed with a mandamus action in court to have them paid.
Straka said if the bills are not paid, the providers could take legal action against the county and the county's credit rating would dip. Starka said the money is available to pay the bills, and insists no contract is needed as demanded by the controller.
Rates up, pacts approved
The commissioners approved the private room and board for patients at Rest Haven Home be increased from $240 to $250 per day.
A contract was approved with Evrichart, Roanoke, Va., for provision of medical records storage management at $80 per month storage and annual pickup at $1,000.
Also, contracts were entered with:
• Dolores Folk, a registered nurse, New Ringgold, for the provision of registered nurses for in-house pool at $24 per hour;
• Laudeman Pest Control Company, Minersville, for provision of pest control services at Rest Haven at $65 per service;
• Genesis Rehabilitation Services Inc., Kennett Square, for provision of physical occupation and speech therapy for at Rest Haven for $820;
• Epeople Healthcare, Sewickley, Allegheny County, for provision of temporary staffing for Rest Haven Home, CNA, $22 and $23 per hour; LPN, $36 to $38 per hour and $RN $48 to $51 per hour;
• Dr. Michael Smink, Pottsville, for dental services to residents at $400 per month; and Elaine Schaeffer, director of Rest Haven Home, was given approval to solicit bids for an upgrade on the current nurse call system.
Hire dive crew
An agreement was approved with Walker Diving Company, Hammonton, N.J., to furnish a dive crew for cleaning an inspection of the low level intake and insure operation of the valve at Neifert's Dam in Rush Township.
County Engineer Lisa Mahall reported the valve is currently inoperable due to a total impact in mud and debris. A contract was entered with George Link Plumbing and Heating Contractor, Mahanoy City, for high pressure jetting services needed and video camera inspection of the drainpipe at the dam at a cost of $3,900.
An agreement was reached with UGI Central Penn Gas Company, Lock Haven, for the installation of telemetering equipment associated with the energy conservation program with the county. The telemetering equipment will be installed at the courthouse, prison and Rest Haven Home at a cost of $3,780.
The commissioners appointed four people to serve on the board of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Rural Transportation Planning Organization. They were: Charles Ross, director of the county's planning and zoning commission, as the county representative; Lisa M. Mahall, county engineer and director of real estate bureau, as alternate county delegate; Gary R. Bender, the county grant writer and demolition director, as county representative-at large; and Dana L. Moyer, of Schuylkill Transportation System, county representative-at-large alternate delegate.
The lease to mine coal on county held land was renewed for one year for Premium Fine Coal Inc., to strip mine in Schuylkill Township. Royalty payments for the past year totaled $17,988.10. The mine owners are Michael S. Carsia Sr., Michael S. Carsia Jr. and Jude Lonzetta.
The commissioners approved a collective bargaining agreement between AFSCME 1721, which represents employees at Rest Haven Home and Hospital, and the county. It is a three-year contract which expires Dec. 31, 2011, and offers the employees a 3 percent pay raise.
In personnel matters, Tiffany Klinger, Pottsville, was hired as full-time general practical nurse at $15.0580 per hour; Amanda Kane, Ashland, promoted from part-time licensed practical nurse to full-time at $15.99 per hour; Codey Bailer, Pine Grove, promoted from caseworker 1 to caseworker 2 with Children and Youth Service Agency at $16.2724 per hour.
It was also reported that Rayma Leashefski, Port Carbon, retired as a clerk typist with the Children and Youth Services Agency, and Krystal Schantz, Minersville, resigned as a part-time nurse's aide at Rest Haven Home.