Courtroom renovation project planned

The county commissioners tackled a large agenda Wednesday morning, Sept. 11, after observing a moment of silence for the day.

The commissioners moved forward with the next phase of improvements to the courthouse – a restoration project for the large courtroom.

One bid for the project was received, totaling $178,192. It was sent to the solicitor to review.

Commissioner Alan Hall said the courtroom project included the installation of new sheetrock on the ceiling to be hung without changing the visible dynamic of the ceiling.

The project also includes replacing some rotted trim, painting, new seat pads, and replacing the judge’s bench. Hall said the project includes moving the rails in order to install an ADA witness box.

Hall said painters would work around the murals on the walls at the front of the courtroom.

After the large courtroom is finished, Hall said Courtroom #2 – the small courtroom – is the last remaining room in the building that requires updating.

The commissioners accepted, with regret, the resignation of Mark Darmofal from the position of solicitor for the Children and Youth Services, effective Sept. 6.

Darmofal remains the Assistant District Attorney, as well as the solicitor for the Domestic Relations Department.

Jennifer McCambridge,  of Scranton, was hired as the Children & Youth solicitor, effective Sept. 11. It is a part-time position. The salary board set the starting rate of $36,000 prior to the commissioners’ meeting.

Hall said that there were a number of conflicts arising from Darmofal’s multiple positions and noted McCambridge has worked with special victims and children.

The Salary Board created three full-time School Resource Officer/ County Detective positions, effective Sept. 11, for the Montrose Area School District.

At the Monday, Sept. 9 Montrose Area School Board meeting, school directors approved a memorandum of understanding with the county and the district attorney’s office for the SRO program.

The commissioners also approved the MOU between the DA’s office and the Montrose Area School District.

The transfer of Michael Sniscak from the part-time position of County Detective/Substitute School Resource Officer to a full-time detective/SRO slot was approved, with the effective date to be determined by the district attorney.

Two people were hired to Caseworker 1 positions with Children & Youth: Arleta Smith was hired, effective Sept. 5, and Emily Gow transferred from the position of Corrections Sergeant, effective Sept. 16.

The commissioners ratified and acknowledged the transfer of LuAnn Myers from the 2nd Deputy Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills to the 1st Deputy Recorder of Deeds, effective Sept. 4.

The transfer of William Darrow from the job title of Assistant Processing Manager to Recycling Technician was approved, effective Sept. 11.

The salary board eliminated the four part-time security guard positions, replacing them with two full-time jobs. Frank Mulligan and Walter Meany transferred from the part-time to full-time posts.

With the recommendation of Sheriff Lance Benedict, the salary board eliminated one Deputy Sheriff position that had been created contingent upon the county receiving Act 13 revenue.

Sheriff Benedict noted there is still one full-time deputy position open in the department.

A number of personnel changes were also approved at the county jail.

The commissioners approved the purchase of two 2020 Ford Explorers for Children & Youth; and a 2020 Ford Transit Van, using Act 13 funds, for the Coroner’s officer. The county will not take delivery of those vehicles until December of January, Hall said.

Several proclamations were approved for September in Susquehanna County:

*Recovery Month

*Suicide Prevention Month

*Emergency Preparedness Month

*Hunger Action Month.

Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said a new drug and alcohol hotline has been established that will be answered by someone 243/7 and not go to a answering service, or with callers told to wait or leave a message. The new hotline number is: 570-767-9411.

Hall said he met with Coroner Anthony Conarton prior to the meeting and was pleased to note that there have been no overdose deaths in the county this year.

Hall did say there has been “a lot” of naloxalone  -commonly referred to by the brand name Narcan – in the county although not all the uses have been reported by emergency responders.

Hall also said a public meeting with PennDOT officials is being planned for Oct. 24, from 6-8 p.m., to discuss road conditions in the county. The location of the meeting will be announced when finalized.

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