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COUNTY GOVERNMENT Lawrence board sets limits on proposed record check



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Only the county solicitor would see the results of background checks.

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County commissioners have decided to revise a proposed amendment that governs appointments to the county's four authorities.

The commissioners had agreed to introduce an amendment requiring candidates to undergo a criminal background check before being named to the redevelopment, airport, housing or municipal authorities.

However, at the recommendation of Lawrence County Commissioner Chairman Dan Vogler, the board agreed to revise the proposed amendment to specify that the results of the those criminal checks would be reviewed exclusively by the county solicitor, who would then help & quot;guide the commissioners' decision, & quot; Vogler explained.

Move guards privacy

& quot;I want to avoid having future commissioners use the information to hurt someone or to use it for reasons other than county business, & quot; Vogler said.

The previous board adopted an ordinance that requires individuals interested in filling a seat on one of the authorities, either by appointment or reappointment, to submit a letter of intent that would be read at a public meeting or to be present at a public meeting.

Commissioner Steve Craig suggested amending the ordinance to include requiring each candidate to sign a waiver to allow the county to conduct a criminal background check.

Commissioner Ed Fosnaught, in agreement with Vogler, said he is concerned about where the information might go and how it could be used if it were to become public.

The commissioners, who intend to introduce the revised version of the proposed amendment at their next regular meeting , have delayed making appointments until the issue is resolved.

For example, the term of James Graves, housing authority chairman, expired Dec. 31. Graves has continued serving in that post, though commissioners have not formally reappointed him or named someone else to the seat. Commissioners have said they will not make any appointments or reappointments to the county authorities until they have voted on the proposed amendment.




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