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Facility given tax-exempt status



Published: Fri, July 29, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Diversified Family Services Inc. plans to build a 12,000-square foot building.

MERCER, Pa. -- County commissioners approved issuance of $1.4 million in Mercer County Industrial Development Authority bonds for a project that will bring all functions of a local nonprofit agency together under one roof.

Diversified Family Services Inc., plans to build a 12,000-square foot building at 5454 E. State St., Hermitage. The agency's current administrative offices are also on East State Street in Hermitage, and it has additional offices in other locations.

Diversified provides community support and social services including job training for persons with disabilities, a drop-in center, and support services to children, adolescents, adults and families. It has contracted to provide services to county agencies for years. It has existed for 20 years and serves 150 clients per year.

By approving the MCIDA bonds, commissioners agree to lend their tax-exempt status to private enterprises to encourage development.

Arbitration hearing

Also Thursday, commissioners hired a Pittsburgh attorney to represent the county in an arbitration hearing on a grievance filed by a county jail guard over his dismissal.

Mercer County commissioners hired Richard Miller of the law firm Campbell, Durrant & amp; Beatty, P.C., as special counsel to represent the county at a rate of $160 per hour.

The arbitration hearing will take place at the request of Sgt. Walter Weir, a member of the Teamster's Local 250 bargaining unit. Weir filed a grievance over his June dismissal after, officials say, he failed to follow proper procedure for reporting an inmate's theft of tobacco from a county jail guard in May.

Mercer County District Attorney James Epstein, who is president of the Mercer County Prison Board, said Thursday it is important that the county be represented by a labor attorney at the hearing because the dispute is over more serious issues than wages or conditions. He commented that the prison board has never asked to hire its own attorney and in this way has saved the county money. County solicitors will assist Miller if needed.

Weir was fired by a 6-1 vote of the prison board with Commissioner Brian Beader dissenting, stating he did not believe the situation rose to the level of a firing offense. One other employee was dismissed, and two received temporary unpaid suspensions. Beader did not attend Thursday's meeting.

Decisions reached

In other business Thursday, commissioners:

UReappointed Patricia Reesman of Sharon and Julianna Krupa of Jackson Center to the Mercer County Commission for Women for terms of five and three years respectively.

UApproved one-year agreements with the following agencies to provide various services to Mercer County Mental Health/Mental Retardation and the Mercer County Behavior Health Commission for the contract maximums listed: Erie Homes for Children and Adults, Inc., Erie: $6,000; McGuire Memorial, New Brighton: $106,768; and The Schafer Farm, Espyville: $6,335.

UApproved one-year contracts for Children and Youth Services with daily rates listed including: Keystone Education and Youth Services, Nashville, Tenn.: $301; Microbac Laboratories Inc., New Castle: $22; and Pressley Ridge, Pittsburgh: $168 and $390.

UHired Richard Adamo and Paul Fitzgerald as lieutenants at the Mercer County Jail at annual salaries of $38,135 each.

UApproved advertising for a new assistant director for Children and Youth Services. The position has been vacant since the last assistant director asked for a nonadministrative job.

UAgreed to compensate several CYS employees who took on additional work while a new CYS director was being sought. The employees and their compensation include: Dawn Mariacher: $877; Karen Rendulic: $1,168; Devenie Santell: $994; Pam Shollenberger: $1,188; and Barb Shrock: $705.




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