Ernestine Wise's term will be in effect through December 2009.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Lawrence County commissioners have started what they call an overhaul of the county housing authority by appointing a new member to that board.
Commissioners, at their regular weekly meeting Tuesday, named Ernestine Wise to the authority board as a tenant representative to replace James Graves.
Graves has continued serving as chairman of that board since his term expired Dec. 31. He completed a five-year term and had asked commissioners to reappoint him to the seat.
But commissioners said that as each of the five seats on the housing authority expires, they would like to fill the positions with new members. Another seat, held by Jeffrey Scrim, expires at the end of the year.
The authority must have at least one member who lives in the county's public housing system.
Wise, 60, has been a resident of the county public housing program for two years. Her five-year term expires Dec. 31, 2009.
Commissioners said they have been slow to appoint new members or reappoint existing members to the county's four authorities because they have had to wait for the results of criminal background checks on each applicant.
Also Tuesday, they reappointed Dennis Alduk of New Castle and Frank Telesz of Volant to the redevelopment authority. Their terms will expire Dec. 31, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, respectively.
Commissioners said there are also openings on the municipal and airport authorities.
They said before reappointing existing members, they must review the county ordinance governing how the appointments are made to determine whether they can automatically reappoint a candidate, or open up the application process to other individuals in the community.
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 such a meeting.
After much discussion, commissioners amended the ordinance to require candidates to consent to having criminal background checks completed.