The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 20, 2013

Montour County Commissioner questions paralegal proposal

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

— DANVILLE — Montour County Commissioners Chairman Trevor Finn had numerous questions about a proposed part-time paralegal in the children and youth services office.

Until the commissioners see a memorandum of understanding for the part-time position, Finn said he couldn’t vote yes on the post.

“It sounds like a good idea,” he told Children and Youth Services Executive Director Craig Patterson at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.

Patterson said he and children and youth services solicitor Robert Marks Sr. had signed the memorandum.

“If you signed it administratively before it came before the commissioners I will have to vote no,” Finn told him.

Commissioners Vice Chairman Jack Gerst, who heads the children and youth services board, said the board has been discussing this matter for months.

Patterson procedurally apologized to Finn.

Finn made a motion to table action on the position until the commissioners’ next meeting. The commissioners approved the tabling of the matter.

“I see nothing wrong with this whole thing,” Gerst said.

Patterson told the commissioners he was awaiting a statement saying the county would not be held accountable if funds for the position were eliminated.

He said his office has been working more than a year on the position, which would streamline documentation related to the courts at no cost to the county. A private subcontractor for the state would pay the person’s salary. The children and youth office would provide space for the individual who would work 20 hours a week.

“If funds go away, the position would go away,” he said. Patterson was told the salary would be a line item in the state budget. A person filling that position full-time would be paid $38,500 annually, he said. The paralegal would not be giving legal advice, Patterson said.

Patterson said he prepares most of the documents now that the paralegal would work. The documents are approved by his office.

“It’s their hire — if we’re not satisfied we can get out,” Patterson said.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.