Salary board approves elections director

The position will involve more public relations duties than before.
MERCER, Pa. -- A new director of registration and elections was approved unanimously Thursday 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 registration and elections director at 33,130 annually to replace Dr. Thomas Rookey, who has retired. However, Amundsen voted against the motion to give Greenburg an additional 5,000 stipend to act as county public information officer. 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 public information officer for a stipend. Greenburg studied communications in college and has worked for 15 years as a newspaper reporter.
Chief clerk's job description
Amundsen said later Thursday that he voted against the stipend because the public information officer 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.
Other action
Also at Thursday'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 & amp; Youth Services.
Hired the law firm of Bogaty & amp; Smith, Grove City, to act as family law masters beginning Jan. 26 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 & amp; 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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