New Northumberland County prothonotary gets extra bucks for backlog
SUNBURY - Northumberland County commissioners added $15,000 to Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Justin Dunkelberger budget Tuesday to help catch up with a backlog of paperwork.
At last month's salary board meeting, Dunkelberger, who was sworn into office Jan. 6, requested two temporary part-time positions of records clerks for the remainder of the calender year. It was tabled, but Chairman Vinny Clausi said he would consider moving the money from the commissioners' budget into the prothonotary's budget at the commissioners' meeting later that day.
Solicitor Frank Garrigan, however, asked to review the matter first, and the decision was put off until Tuesday.
Clausi and Stephen Bridy made and seconded the motion to amend the budget, and it passed 2-0.
Commissioner Rick Shoch abstained. After the meeting, he said he didn't vote two years ago to cut positions from the office.
"I'll allow them to clean up their own mess," he said.
Dunkelberger said he is grateful the commissioners understand the need for additional funding, and noted he believes Shoch also understands despite his abstention.
With a 10 percent increase in fees to file paperwork in the prothonotary's office, Dunkelberger expects to generate $18,000 over the next year to make up for the larger budget.
He will either increase the hours of his current employees or hire part-time employees to catch up on filing paperwork and inputting court documents, especially on the criminal side.
Otherwise, he said, the county may be open to litigation if documents are not handled in a timely and efficient manner.
"We've got to help him out and clean up this mess going forward," Clausi said.
New budget director
The commissioners also introduced their new budget director, Stephen Cook, of Coal Township. He'll replace Jeff McClintock, who resigned Feb. 28 after 4 1/2 years to take a position outside of county government.
Cook, former chief financial officer for Central Susquehanna Opportunities, said he has 30 years of experience in government accounting and auditing and nonprofit organization accounting. He was most recently employed at the state Department of Revenue.
"I'm looking forward to working with the commissioners. I appreciate the opportunity," he said after Tuesday's meeting, which he attended.
McClintock was making $75,058 at the time of his resignation. Cook was hired March 10 at a salary of $60,000.
Clausi welcomed Cook to the county.
"If you need anything, you can come to us," he said.
In other businesses, the commissioners:
- Will send invitations in May for an Industrial Development Association luncheon planned for this summer to discuss Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZs) and the adoption of the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program.
- Will expect county employees to provide a report whenever they attend workshops or seminars.
- Announced a potential cleaning contract with Service Master Clean, Harrisburg, that will be accepted at a later meeting. The three-year contract will require the company to clean the administration building, the courthouse and the Career and Arts Center for $153,900 in the first year. It's a savings of nearly $60,000 from the current contract.