Commissioners make another chief clerk change

For the fourth time in the last three years, Susquehanna County has had a change of chief clerk.

Friday morning Commissioner Chair Elizabeth “Betsy” Arnold informed former chief clerk Rob Hyde that his services were no longer needed by the county.

“I’m still in the dark as to the reasons why,” Hyde told the Independent in a recent telephone interview.

“Commissioner Arnold walked in my office with the sheriff and the H.R. Director and said, ‘Thank you for your service, Rob. We’re going in a different direction,’” Hyde quoted Arnold as saying.

Reached earlier this week, Arnold declined to comment on Hyde’s firing, citing confidentiality rules.

“That’s a personnel issue.  I can’t comment,” Arnold said.

Hyde served commissioners as chief clerk for only nine months, having begun in April 2019. He previously held the position of director of county assessment for almost two years.

Hyde said he felt “blindsided” by his release from the $60,000 a year chief clerk’s position, particularly in light of the fact that the commissioners had just reappointed him without complaint on Jan. 6.   The former chief clerk said he was never subjected to any disciplinary action and received positive feedback from his job.

 “I’ve worked very hard and accomplished much. It’s a big surprise,” Hyde said.

“As far as I know I had a great relationship with all the employees,” he said.

The chief clerk serves as the county’s manager, with responsibilities including providing day-to-day management county, coordinating county departments, administrating county policy, keeping minutes of the twice monthly meetings, as well as other operational tasks.

Hyde, 51, listed some of his accomplishments while serving the county as adding $10 million in assessed value to county properties, improving the county Clean and Green program and reorganizing the county’s cell phones by initiating a recycling program.

The position of chief county clerk has undergone a lot of turnover in recent years.  Since 2014, former chief clerk and county detective Steve Stoud held the position the longest — almost three years — before the county ran through three other chief clerks between 2017 and this year, including Hyde.  Of the three, former chief clerk Martin Kane held the position the longest, from June 2017 until he tendered his resignation in March 2019.

In November 2017, Stoud sued Susquehanna County alleging that he was harassed, suffered a hostile work environment and claiming he took a different position in the county after reporting a sexual harassment complaint against another county employee involving one of his subordinates. That lawsuit is still pending.

Rebekah Hubbard, who had been serving as the deputy chief clerk since Aug. 1, 2019, was appointed chief clerk.

The commissioners are expected to officially act on Hyde’s termination, as well as Hubbard’s new position at their next meeting which is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the commissioners’ meeting room of the courthouse.

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