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Board settles grievance with former public defender

Published March 26. 2010 08:28AM

A long standing grievance between the Schuylkill County Commissioners and one of the first appointed public defenders was settled in action taken at the public meeting held Wednesday. This week's meeting was held in the Porter Township Municipal Building in the village of Muir.

A general release agreement was entered between Attorney Anthony J. Urban, Butler Township, and the commissioners to release the county of any further claim by Urban.

When Urban retired in 2005 he was denied certain benefits and filed a grievance which has now been resolved. Under terms of the agreement the county will pay Urban $17,230 less standard payroll deduction and withholdings in exchange of full settlement of the claim. Urban will continue to receive retirement benefits in the form of monthly annuity.

Urban was one of three attorneys appointed by the late President Judge James J. Curran when the county established a public defender's bureau. The late Attorney William Balitas, Minersville, was named chief defender. The third attorney hired, Joseph Semasek, of McAdoo, retired a few years ago.

The bureau was formed in 1974. Prior to that the court drafted an attorney to serve as a public defender when a defendant appeared in court without legal reprentation. The bureau now has a full staff, including part time public defenders and investigators.

Other business

The commisssioners granted a contract to Smith and Smith General Contractors, Pottsivlle, for making accessibility improvements to aid handicaps entering the municipal building in Norwegian Township. The contract was for $46,500. The firm was the lone bidder. Payments will come out of the county's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

A cooperation agreement was entered with municipalities of Blythe, Foster, Reilly , Mahanoy townships and Girardville for participation in the GDBG Program.

Approval was given for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board to award $50,000 to Schuylkill Women in Crisis for accessibility improvements at its emergency shelter.

A reimbursement agreement was entered with PennDOT for funding the replacement of a county bridge which carries Mill Street over the Schuylkill River in Port Carbon. The amount agreed is $651,000.

Six purchase of service agreements were entered on behalf of the Children and Youth Services Agency with the following:

National Mentor Healthcare/Pennsylvania Mentor, Conshohocken, for pre-placement at $85 per diem and diagnostic at $239.77 per diem; Concern, Fleetwood, for shelter at $187.06 per diem; foster care for childlren with disabilitieis, $99.95 per day and treatment unit for boys, $188.70 per diem; Perseus House, Erie, for shelter, $187.07 per diem; male intensive treatment, $254.39 per day and mother/baby program, $272.35 per diem; Valley Youth House, Allentown, single apartment transition program, $111.78 per diem, shelter at $170 per diem and mother/child at $263.92 per day and Theraapeutic Center at Fox Chase, also known as Bridge House, Philadelphia, community residential service at $255.23 per day.


Karen Kenderdine, Kris Verba, Darlene Robbins and Frank Zukas, Pottsville, and Christopher Snyder, Minersville, were reappointed to a two year term on the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Investment Board with their terms ending March 22, 2012. Paul Straka, Shenandoah, county budget director, was named to the unexpired term of Mary Ann Kowalonek, which expires March 16, 2012. Ken Porter, Orwigsburg, was appointed to a three year term as a member of the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board. His term expires April 1, 2013.

An agreement with Met Life Insurance Company for life, accidental death and long term disability coverage for eligible county employes was approved at rates of life, $144 per $1,000 of benefit and long term disability at $25 per $100 of benefit. The commissioners reported there will be a $22,860 in savings over a three year period. Previouisly the insurance was with another carrier.

Approval was given to Michael Coal Company to perform as a contract miner on Premium Fine Coal lease on county land in Blythe Township and Premium Fine Coal lease in Schuylkill Township.

Leases to mine coal from county held land were renewed with Joseph P. Cromyak on land in Blythe Township and to Michael Kopinetz use of county land to store wood pallets. Cromyak has paid $1,929.88 in royalties for 2009 and Kopinitz, $2,100.

Approved was submission of a continuation grant to the Pennsylvlania Department of Public Welfare to provide funding for state subsidized child care service in the county for period of July 1 to June 30, 2011, in amount of $3,875,960.

Personnel matters

Four case workers were hired for the Chilldren and Youth Service Agency.

They were: John O'Connor, Frackville; Justin Wank, Branch Township; Holly Zvorsky, West Brunswick Township; and Krystal Andricks, Shenandoah, at $15.6468 per hour.

Crystal Brooks, Pottsville was transferred from clerk typist 2 at Senior Services to clerk 2 at Children and Youth Agency at $11.2619 per hour. Tiffany Kiehl, Ashland, was hired as a clerk typist 2 at Senior Services at $15.6468 per hour.

Two retirements were announced at Rest Haven Home. Nora George, Auburn, a full time licensed practical nurse, and Gayle Hartranft, Schuylkill Haven, a full time nurse's aide.

There will be no commissioner work session next Wedmesday.

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