Search committee grappling with announced pay for Lucerne County’s next director

The Luzerne County Volunteer Citizen Manager Search Committee on Thursday began discussing what it would do if the county council did not lower the salary scale for the senior executive position.

When the last manager search began in 2015, committee members concluded that $ 140,000 was an appropriate minimum based on a review of the compensation of county managers in similar counties.

The council ended up reverting to the full range outlined in the county’s charter of autonomy, which states that the principal cannot earn more than the elected district attorney or less than 55% of the attorney’s pay.

As a result, the position was advertised in 2015-16 at $ 96,565 to $ 175,572.

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If council sticks to the wording of the charter, the range this time would be $ 102,116 to $ 185,665, which is the current DA compensation according to county officials.

Some critics have said that an unusually wide salary range may have deterred applicants.

“It’s too big,” former research committee member Gerard O’Donnell told the current research committee on Thursday. “There should be a small pay scale related to the job. “

O’Donnell and Gene A. Camoni, a member of the previous search committee, gave a presentation on their previous work at the request of the current committee members, now responsible for recommending the most qualified candidates to fill the vacancy left by C David Pedri.

Pedri had been hired at $ 120,000 and has gone up to an annual pay of $ 137,333 this year.

While the board hires the director, the county’s charter of autonomy requires the outside committee to “recommend the candidates it deems most qualified” to the board.

O’Donnell said the committee must accept compensation set by the board, but said he hoped board members would consider a more condensed range expected by job seekers deciding to apply.

Board members have yet to discuss the pay of the next director, although the search committee needs this information to begin advertising the position.

Under its tentative schedule, the committee wants to advertise for about six weeks and start reviewing resumes in early December.

Committee chair Chris Hackett said the board ultimately decides what it will pay, but the committee needs to handle the advertising.

Hackett said it might make sense for the committee to only announce the maximum pay and not the minimum. He said he does not support a wide range and argued that reasonable compensation is especially important in recruiting the best candidates in today’s job market.

Committee member Ray Wendolowski said he agreed that advertising should focus on the maximum salary.

Committee member Rick Morelli said the committee may also consider referencing the compensation of the previous manager in the advertisement.

Several county council members also submitted written comments to the committee on managerial characteristics they consider important and answers to other questions.

Pedri also said earlier this week that he was unable to attend Thursday’s invitational session due to a scheduling conflict, but will provide comments to the committee if necessary.

Committee members set a target date in early February to present a slate of finalists to the board, although they have agreed to keep the schedule flexible based on their satisfaction with the pool of applicants.

They also agreed to do face-to-face interviews with the top finalists, as opposed to virtual sessions, although this involves travel costs.

Maintaining confidentiality for applicants will be “critical” so that their current jobs are not compromised, Hackett said, with the other members expressing their agreement. Alec Ryncavage, Sherri Homanko, Brian D. O’Donnell and Patrick Patte are also on the committee.

Morelli warned the committee must carefully plan for in-person interviews as names are leaked, particularly if committee members bring a claimant through the courthouse and other visible locations.

The committee also voted Thursday to announce a lawyer at $ 100 to $ 150 an hour. The county attorney’s office will not be involved in providing legal advice to avoid any concerns about the independence of the committee.

During his presentation with Camoni, O’Donnell said his best advice would be for committee members to remember that their “real responsibility” is to all citizens and taxpayers in the county to help “find the best person to lead. the county in the future “.

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