Pension board explores retirement incentives

The Susquehanna County Retirement Board is looking for ways to incentivize county employees so they stay working for the county.

The board, comprised of the commissioners, chief clerk and 1st deputy treasurer, met on Wednesday, April 27, to discuss health insurance benefits for retirees.

“We have a duty to listen to the individuals who work for the county,” said Commissioner Judith Herschel, who attended the meeting via telephone.

Longtime county employee Joann Wiser attended the meeting and told the board she had done extensive research about the current retiree health care. She also spoke about county’s 14 employees that fall in the plan’s “gap years”  – those hired before 1996 -and suggested the county offer incentives to help thwart the employment turnover rate.

“There are people that qualify for retirement that can’t afford to because of the insurance,” Wiser said.

The board asked Wiser to come up with proposal options for incentives.

The board also ended the $215 insurance premium for new employees, effective April 27, and not fully vested by January 2023.

In the meeting of the county commissioners, Commissioner Alan Hall was in attendance, while Commissioners Elizabeth Arnold and Herschel participated via telephone.

The commissioners approved the purchase of various fitness equipment, to be installed at the Public Safety Building, and paid for by grant money.

Hall said the fitness room will allow for a stress-relief following difficult calls handled by 911 telecommunicators. The addition of the room is a recommendation from PEMA, he said.

The commissioners also approved the transfer of Kenneth Shoemaker from the position of Recycling Technician to Processing/Shipping Manager at the Recycling Center.

The resignation of Jennie Girafi from the position of New Milford District Justice Assistant Office Manager, effective May 6, was acknowledged, with regret.

Jason Miller, who resigned as county treasurer, has agreed to stay on in the office as a temporary, part-time administrative assistant. Miller was thanked for stepping up to help in the county office.

Several proclamations were issued:

*May as Mental Health Awareness Month

*May as Older Americans’ Awareness Month

*May as VHL Awareness Month

*May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month

*May 1-7 as National Correctional Officers and Employees Week

*May 6-12 as Nurses’ Week at Barnes Kasson; Endless Mountains Health Systems; and NEPA Community Health Care.

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