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The Progress Home >> Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - Centre considers abolishing jury commissioners positions

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Centre considers abolishing jury commissioners positions
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
By Terry Whetstone Staff Writer
BELLEFONTE - The Centre County Commissioners heard from Maxine Ishler, court administrator, who joined the commissioners in a discussion concerning the jury commissioners at yesterday's weekly county commissioners' meeting in the Willowbank Building.
The commissioners noted they received a letter from President Judge Thomas Kistler about the jury commissioners, and since he could not be there, Ishler attended in his place.
Ishler said some counties have already abolished the positions.
"Our jury commissioners are doing a great job," she said. "And we use them a lot, but in the end, we have to look at the bottom line."
She said the new automated system that is available would make the task a lot simpler.
"I don't want to upset them, but we could really function without them," Ishler said.
She said all total the cost with benefits, salaries and dues the cost is about $39,000 for the county.
"We looked at the bottom line," Ishler said. "But whatever the commissioners decide is fine with us."
Commissioner Chairman Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos said the county received correspondence and they're taking it seriously.
"How are the other counties who have abolished the positions doing," Commissioner Michael Pipe asked.
Ishler said a couple of counties have not had jury commissioners for 30 years now and things are going well for them, while a number of counties are planning to abolish the positions at the end of 2013, when the terms expire.
Timothy Boyde, county administrator, said the commissioners must make a decision by the end of this year.
Ishler gave an overview of what the jury commissioners do, noting they work about every other month.
Ishler did say she would need someone, either full or part-time to do some jury work, but she isn't sure which it will be. She needs to consider that.
The current jury commissioners, Ruth Luse and Hope Miller, could apply for the position should the jury commissioners be abolished.
While they intend to further discuss the matter, the commissioners have voted to have the staff draft a resolution to abolish the position. They will decide whether or not they wish to do that at a later meeting.
"We'll make a decision," Exarchos said. "We don't know what it will be yet, but Judge Kistler deserves an answer."
Matt Milliron with the planning and community development was also on the agenda and discussed some funding to finish up some 2012 projects.
The commissioners approved his requests, including $55,000 for sewer treatment plant upgrades in Port Matilda Borough; $90,000 for the Mountain Top Regional Water Authority for water main replacement; and $90,670 for Miles Township Water Authority to make improvements to the Rebersburg Main Street Water System.
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