Wiest asks to replace Northumberland County court adminstrator
SUNBURY - William H. Wiest, who officially became the new president judge of Northumberland County Monday, is seeking the termination of a court administrator who has held the position for 11 years.
When asked after Northumberland County's inauguration ceremonies about reports that he planned to make significant changes in the court following the retirement of former president judge Robert B. Sacavage, Wiest said he notified Brandy Yasenchak last week that he submitted a request to Pennsylvania Court Administrator Zygmont Pines to fire her. If Pines finds merit in Wiest's request, he can recommend to Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that Yasenchak be terminated.
Yasenchak, who is an attorney and served as Sacavage's law clerk for two years prior to becoming court administrator, said the matter is a personnel issue and reserved further comment when contacted Monday afternoon. Her salary is approximately $64,000.
Wiest said he has a candidate in mind to replace Yasenchak if his request is granted, but preferred not to release that person's identity. He did say his nominee, who would have to be approved by Pines and Castille, is a lawyer.
As president judge, Wiest has the authority to make a request for a new court administrator. It's common for court administrators to be replaced when president judges retire, especially when the new judge is a member of a different political party. Sacavage is a Democrat, while Wiest is a Republican.
Wiest said he would like to retain deputy court administrator Kevin O'Hearn and possibly administrative assistant Melinda Knepp and video technology coordinator Amy Johns. Like Yasenchak, O'Hearn is a state employee. Knepp and Johns are county non-bargaining employees.
Wiest also confirmed that Sacavage's former judicial secretary Beth Onesi, who has been a county employee for approximately 30 years, was transferred Dec. 30 to a secretary's position with the county conflicts counsel office at a significant salary deduction.
Sacavage's former law clerk April Rivers was terminated by Wiest Monday.
Wiest said his judicial secretary Amy Zeiders and law clerk Heath Brosious will also assume the same roles for senior judges assigned to the county at increased salaries.