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Warden's raise comes under fire

Published December 22. 2011 05:01PM

"He should be fired not given a raise," was the comment of Controller Melinda Kantner at a work session of the Schuylkill County Salary Board which was held Wednesday at the courthouse in Pottsville.

The comment was made after Martina Chwastiak, head of the Human Service Department, made a presentation of the salary increases approved by the Schuylkill County Prison Board for the administrative staff at the county prison.

The recommendation is to increase the salary of Warden Eugene Berdanier to $66,874 per year; Deputy Warden David Wapinsky, $57,189 and reclasification of Michael Flannery from lieutenant to captain to $54,552.

Controller Kantner said the salary increase for Berdanier would amount to $7,456; Deputy Warden Wapinsky to $6,266 and Captain Flannery to $8,498. Kantner only questioned Berdanier's proposed increase. She claimed he should be fired not rewarded because in her opinion he was not performing his job. She blamed him for the high overtime cost because he was making correctional officers work double shifts which has caused medical problems and placed some on medical leaves. The remaining members of the prison board endorsed the increases.

Chwastiak told Kantner, who also serves on the prison board along with the county commissioners who comprise the salary board, that she was present at a meeting the prison board had last Monday with a consulting firm hired to make an assessment of the prison operation and that it was the consultant's recommendation for the increases. As to their reason it was to reduce a salary comprehensive which is occuiring because all correctional officers are making more than the administrative personal.

Also proposed was the creating five lieutenant positions at the prison and the recommendation was that to be appointed to the positions were Frank Hannis, Nesquehoning; Phillip Chattin and Michael Buchanan, Pottsville; Richard Emerick, Orwigsburg and Patrick Mahoney, Wayne Township at salaries of $53,390 per year.

Actions on other personal matters were as follows:

The 9-1-1 Communication Center is requesting the transfer of Ronald Halupa, Shenandoah, from office support in the Human Resources Department to telecommuniucator 1 at a salary of $11.5082 per hour; Human Resouces Department is requesting the transfer of Vincent Bindie, Shenandoah, from courier in the Human Resources Department to temporary interim part time office support clerk at $11.0905 per hours.

Rest Haven Home and Hospital is asking the appointment of Kathleen Kimmel, Coatesville, as parttime switchboard operator at $9 per hour; planning and zoning commission is requesting the appointment of Jacqueline Pellish, Pottsville, as an assistant planner at $29,944 per year.

District Attorney James P. Goodman informed the salary board he was appointing First Assistant Karen Byrnes, Ashland, to position of district attorney effective January 2, 2012 to fill his unexpired term as he will become a county judge. He requests her salary be set at $168,541 per year.

Rest Haven Home is asking wage adjustments for seven parttime nurse's aides who had completed and passed their nurse';s aide training program to $11.72 per hour. They are, Amanda Sterner, New Ringgold; Kelsie Blankenhorn and Michael Zimmernan, Schuylkill Haven; Chad Bowen, Pottsville; Bridtget Dougherty, Llewelly and Kathleen Ryan , Cressona.

A number of resignations were announced.

Larnanda McKee, Schuylkill Haven, resined as full time social services caseworker and Christine Hunter, Saint Clair, as full time assistant director of nursing at Rest Haven Home; Kelly Ondisco, Schuylkill Haven, as casseworker with Childlren and Youth Services Agency; Attorney Rick Thornburg, Pottsville, as an assistant county solicitor; Marie Lesusky, Mahanoy City, as a per diem secretary in the planning and zoning office and Attorney Roberta Domlesky, Minersville, as a law clerk for President Judge William E. Baldwim.

The salary board took no action on all the requests but referred they be brought up for a vote at the public salary board meeting to be held next Wednesday. Sitting in on the meeting were Commissioners Mantura Gallagher and Frank Staudenmeier and Controller Kanter. Commissioner Francis McAndrew was absent as he is recuperating from a serious operation.

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