Public questions Mifflin County Commissioners on additional CYS salary payments

LEWISTOWN – Several area residents were on hand at Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County Commissioners to question additional salary payment to Children & Youth Director Mackenzie Seiler in 2012.

The folks on hand stated they were concerned that Seiler was in essence getting paid twice for doing her job.

In a letter to the editor submitted on Wednesday, the commissioners noted that at the time, Seiler had two positions in her department that were vacant, an in-home supervisor and an assistant administrator. According to the commissioners, Seiler covered the duties of in-home supervisor for a period of eight months until a new hire was able to complete training. (Editor’s note: The letter submitted by the commissioners appears on page A4 of today’s edition.)

During Thursday’s meeting, County Solicitor Pat Gardner noted that Seiler was, in fact, paid for performing the duties of a position that was vacant and already budgeted.

The commissioners noted the time frame in which Seiler performed the additional duties was not typical because it occurred not over a period of days or weeks, but months.

In the letter, the commissioners pointed out that the budgeted amount of salaries for the two positions totaled over $82,000, so the $5,625 in extra pay actually saved the county money. During the six-month period Seiler was paid extra for, the commissioners stated, cost savings of $35,814.50 were incurred in salary alone.

“There was just too much work for someone to do 70 or 80 hours a week. No one can do that continually,” Commissioner Mark Sunderland said.

Also on Thursday, the commissioners approved a letter of support to commit up to $140,000 from the county’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and/or other sources for the SEDA-COG Housing Development elderly housing initiative in Lewistown Borough called Mann Edge II.

On hand representing the SEDA-COG Housing Development Corporation was Secretary Mike Fisher. Fisher provided artist renderings of what phase II of the Mann Edge Terrace project will look like upon completion.

“Mann Edge II will be located just west of the existing parcel,” Fisher explained. He said the parcel which currently houses the first phase of the project has seen tax revenues grow from $7,000-8,000 a year to more than $28,000. He anticipates tax revenue at the new site to rise to approximately $31,000.

“So you can see, this is a nice economic development project that will also provide much-needed housing for elderly individuals,” he added.

Fisher noted that there currently is a waiting list of 116 people wanting to live in the second phase of the project.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

Adopted a resolution to appoint a Section 504 compliance officer to make sure all county-owned buildings and facilities are in compliance with the Americans With Disability Act. James Lettiere, community development administrator, said a resolution appointing Douglas Marks, housing rehabilitation specialist, as compliance officer, is a federal requirement through the Housing and Rehabilitation Act to have a compliance officer in place to handle any potential complaints with regard to handicapped accessibility to county-owned structures. In a related move, the commissioners also adopted the required Section 504 grievance procedure.

Approved additional funding required for a completed paving and stormwater improvement project in Armagh Township that cost more than original estimates, which were received in 2011. The additional $6,915 needed to complete payment will come from CDBG funds.

Approved real estate tax refunds for a parcel in Granville Township where a mobile home was removed in the amount of $62.14 and a parcel in Brown Township where all structures were removed from the property in June 2013 in the amount of $1,708.27.

Approved an exoneration of 2014 real estate tax bill for a parcel in Granville Township that the Department of Veterans Affairs approved as exempt in the amount of $713.93.

Approved Community Service Block Grant Funds for 2013 to the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata for intake/case management ($1,189) and rent and utilities ($14,800).

Approved Community Service Block Grant Contract Addendums for Shelter Services Inc. for rent and utilities and intake for shelter services.

Approved Homeless Assistance Program grant agreements with Shelter Services for case management/rental assistance ($7,142) and United Way of Mifflin-Juniata for case management/rental assistance ($9,542).

Approved a five-year lease agreement with Commonwealth Business Technologies Inc. for 21 copiers for $3,179 per month.

Approved a $5,000 commitment from Act 13 Legacy Funds for the Fountain Square project.

Approved a Business Associate Agreement with RBA Professional Data Systems to provide protection and security of health information and HIPAA.

Appointed William Haughwout of Belleville as president of the Agriculture Land Preservation Board.

Appointed Michael Ammon of Lewistown to a three-year term on the Agriculture Land Preservation Board.

Approved a permanent housing project agreement with Ryan Ford for construction services.

Approved the hiring of Melissa Pallotto as director of Domestic Relations effective Feb. 24.

Approved the promotion of Todd Harpster to chief probation officer effective Feb. 24.

Approved the promotion of Ryan Smeltzer to adult probation supervisor effective Feb. 24.