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Background checks delay appointments



Published: Fri, June 17, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Commissioners want to speed up the appointment process.

By VIRGINIA ROSS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County commissioners said they plan to fill several seats on the county's four authorities next week.

Commissioners, at their caucus Thursday, said they have had to delay making the appointments to comply with the county's ordinance that addresses how those appointments are to be made.

The ordinance, which commissioners amended earlier this year, requires criminal background checks to be completed on each applicant.

"That has been our delay, getting the results of the background checks," said Commissioner Chairman Dan Vogler. "We have been assured we'll have everything we need to make our decisions and make those appointments on Tuesday. It's something that has been long overdue."

Each of the county's four authorities has up to two vacancies that need to be filled. A number of those seats have remained open since the end of last year when terms of previously appointed members expired.

Scheduled for Tuesday

Vogler said John Hodge, county solicitor, has assured commissioners he will have received and reviewed the results of all of the background checks in time for commissioners to vote on the appointments Tuesday.

For months, commissioners reviewed and revised the county's ordinance that governs how an individual is to be appointed to the county's housing, redevelopment, airport and municipal authorities.

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.

After much discussion, commissioners amended the ordinance to require candidates to consent to having criminal background checks completed.

On Thursday, commissioners said they are looking at speeding up the appointment process.

"Maybe, if we know a term is to expire, we can begin getting the information in that we need from the applicants and get the background checks done early enough so we don't have this type of delay in the future," Vogler said.




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