The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 7, 2013

County hires new worker

EBENSBURG — The Cambria County commissioners on Thursday approved hiring a worker for the office of Controller Ed Cernic, bringing his staffing level back to the full complement.

But Cernic said the impact of the vacancy, created when an employee left Nov. 1, will be felt for some time as workers strive to deal with a backlog of record keeping and invoices.

“It brings us back to a full complement, but because of that position not being filled for the past three months, it’s going to take six months to get back to normal,” he said.

Pamela Paronish was hired as a full-time accounting assistant for the controller’s office at a rate of $10 per hour with a starting date of Feb. 25.

Commissioners Douglas Lengenfelder and Mark Wis­singer have been at odds with Cernic over filling the position.

The dispute surfaced about a month ago when longtime Johnstown area Constable Sam Allison told officials that paychecks for him and others were being delayed.

Facing a tight 2013 budget, Lengenfelder and Wissinger attempted to avoid hiring a new employee by seeking someone to transfer from within the county system, but no one applied, officials said.

After agreeing to hire a new person, the commissioners tried to hold off until the beginning of March.

The commissioners temporarily moved a worker from the county elections office into Cernic’s office several weeks ago, but that person is being taken back to prepare for the spring primary election.

Cernic said the worker shortage forced his staff to delay payments to constables and some of the tax collectors for two weeks in early January.

While checks were issued on the last payday in January, some were still 20 percent short.

“Everybody, I think, will be paid pretty much in full,” Cernic said Thursday about the checks being issued today.

Commissioner Thomas Cher­­nisky had favored filling the vacancy earlier.

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