Contentions grow between elected officials
BY STACI WILSON
Contentions between county elected officials grew at the Aug.8 Salary Board meeting.
A move to eliminate a deputy clerk of courts position and create a prothonotary position sparked a heated exchange between county commissioners, County Treasurer Catherine Benedict and Prothonotary Susan Eddleston.
Following a motion to make a change in the office positions by Commissioner MaryAnn Warren and seconded by Commissioner Michael Giangrieco, Eddleston asked the board members to leave her office in its current state. She said she simply wanted to fill a position that had been recently vacated.
Benedict then said, “If the Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts doesn’t want to move forward with this, why is it on here? I would never presume to know what goes on in another elected officials department.”
Giangrieco said the agenda item was added at Eddleston’s request.
“It’s not what I asked for and is unnecessary,” Eddleston replied.
At the root of the issue, was an agenda discussion item regarding the part-time clerk/typist position in the prothonotary’s office.
The commissioners questioned why a part-time position was needed if the office was going to be gaining a whole person.
Eddleston explained it was not a gain but rather a shift of a position from the criminal to the civil side of her office.
She said she preferred her office staff remain as it is rather than lose the part-time clerk/typist in the office.
The person who holds that union position is responsible for scanning and docketing about 288 cases per week and also providing passport services in the office, Eddleston said.
With the motion and second on the table, Commissioner Alan Hall called for a vote on the item.
The three commissioners all voted in favor of the elimination of the 2nd Deputy Clerk of Courts position and the creation of a 2nd Deputy Prothonotary position.
Eddleston and Benedict sounded no votes to the move.
“This is horrible,” Benedict admonished. “It’s a ridiculous thing to take on another elected official and assume what she wants.”
Hall warning that Benedict was out of order went unheeded by the treasurer.
“This is the worst administration ever,” she said.
Hall countered, “Only because you don’t get your own way all the time.”
“My way is right,” Benedict said.
After the exchange, salary board members then went on to discuss the part-time clerk/typist position in the prothonotary’s office.
Eddleston said she wanted to leave the part-time position untouched.
A suggestion Giangrieco agreed with. “I say don’t do anything with the clerk/typist because you need her.”
At that the matter was dropped by the board.
In the end, Eddleston will have six full-time employees with three on the civil and three on the criminal sides of her office and the one, part-time clerk/typist continuing with her current workload.