No timetable set for naming new commissioner

MIFFLINTOWN – The death of Juniata County Commissioner Robert “Bob” Reynolds on Tuesday has left an opening on the board.

Reynolds was elected in 2011 to serve a four-year term which would have expired at the end of 2015.

The County Commissioners Manual states under the term “vacancies,” that the President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas shall appoint a replacement. The appointee must be of the same political party as was the person holding the position prior to the vacancy, and will complete the unexpired term of office. The county-wide political committee may submit recommendations to the president judge, but the judge is not obligated to consider such recommendations.

Reynolds was a registered Republican and prior to serving on the board, he represented Fermanagh Township as a member of the Juniata County Republican Committee. Reynolds also worked for two years as an English teacher and for 31 years in state government, 25 of which were in the Department of Education and six of which were in the Department of Public Welfare.

President Judge Kathy A. Morrow said she didn’t want to jump on filling the vacancy right away out of respect for Reynolds.

“I want to give the community a chance to heal,” she said.

Commissioner Jeff Zimmerman echoed that sentiment and said the community needs a chance to grieve.

Zimmerman said there is no listed time frame in the county code by which an appointment must be made, however, he anticipates speaking with Morrow in the coming week about her plans.

Morrow has unfortunately been in this situation before and had to fill a vacancy in Perry County under similar circumstances. Juniata and Perry counties are in the same court of common pleas judicial district.

Morrow said she would like to speak with Joan Fulkroad, the Chairperson of the Juniata County Republican Committee next week and would like her to submit two names, along with resumes and statements as to why the candidates are qualified to hold the position.

“First and foremost I am very saddened by the death of Bob, he was a good man,” Fulkroad said.

Fulkroad said that out of respect for Reynolds the committee will wait to meet until after his memorial service to discuss possible candidates. He also said several people have expressed an interest in filling the vacancy on the board of commissioners.