Mercer County hires Greenburg for 2 positions

MERCER, Pa. — A new director of registration and elections was approved unanimously today by the Mercer County Salary Board.

But there was a split vote to approve adding a $5,000 stipend to his wage for taking on the duties of county public information officer.

Mercer County commissioners and Controller Thomas Amundsen — who make up the salary board — voted to name Jeff Greenburg of Shenango Township as the new director at $33,130 annually to replace Dr. Thomas Rookey, who has retired. However, Amundsen voted against the motion to give Greenburg the     stipend. It passed 3-1, with the three county commissioners, Brian Beader, Kenneth Seamans and Olive Lazor, voting for it.

When commissioners announced Greenburg’s hiring last week, they said that in addition to running the elections office, he would take on the duties of PIO for a stipend. Greenburg studied communications in college and has worked 15 years as a newspaper reporter.

Amundsen said later today that he voted against the stipend because the PIO duties are already included in the commissioners' chief clerk’s job description, which states the chief clerk “plans and directs activities of public relations and public information and acts as public information officer in the county.”

He said if commissioners wanted to create a separate position, they should have changed the chief clerk’s job description.

Lazor acknowledged that the commissioners’ chief clerk’s job description still contains a mention of such duties. But she said this is because the chief clerk occasionally issues press releases and takes care of placing advertisements for commissioners. She said the chief clerk does not perform wide-ranging public relations functions.

Lazor said Greenburg’s position will include more comprehensive duties involving explaining county government to the public in a way that no employee does now.

Rookey has agreed to continue temporarily on a part-time basis to train his successor. He will be paid $20 per hour.

Also at today’s meeting, commissioners:

• Approved a cost estimate for replacement of a bridge on Riggs Road, Shenango Township, at $401,600.

• Approved a contract with Atty. Tedd Nesbit, Grove City, for up to $10,000 for 2007 to provide court-appointed professional legal services and representation to juveniles in dependency actions brought by Children & Youth Services.

• Hired the law firm of Bogaty & Smith, Grove City, to act as family law masters beginning Friday at $75 hourly. They replace Atty. John Regule, who is retiring. Family law masters conduct hearings for some domestic relations cases.

• Hired Atty. Margaret Lucas of Mercer to act as family law master in cases where there is a conflict for the firm of Bogaty & Smith. Her hourly rate is also $75.

• Approved a $2,618 maintenance agreement for typewriters with Office Equipment Technical Service, Cochranton, for 2007.

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