The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 24, 2013

District judge’s office closes for move: Barron relocating to Stonycreek Township site

EBENSBURG — The office of Johnstown-area Magisterial District Judge John Barron is closed today and for the remainder of the week as staff pack up and move to a new location.

The longtime office, located at 110 Sunray Drive in Upper Yoder Township, is being relocated to a recently renovated building at 701 Belmont St. in Stonycreek Township.

Regular office hours at the new location will resume Monday, Cambria County Court Administrator William Valko said Tuesday.

“It will reopen Monday morning at 9 a.m.,” he said.

The move is part of an overall realignment of magisterial district judges’ areas countywide  that reduces the number from 10 to eight.

Valko said Barron’s staff and county crews will handle the physical packing and move while a technical crew from Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts will handle relocation of the computer equipment.

The change in the district realignment is not set to go into effect until Jan. 1, but Cambria County President Judge Timothy Creany received permission from the state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille to make the change in Barron’s office three months early, Valko said.

The move is necessary following a state Supreme Court ordered realignment that reduced the number of district judges in Cambria County and changed the boundaries for most.

The reduced number was part of a review required following the U.S. census.

President Commissioner Douglas Lengenfelder said the realignment will save the county about $80,000 a year beginning in 2014.

“We were involved in the buildout,” Lengenfelder said of the Belmont Street location. “Overall, there will be a significant savings.”

In the plan developed by Creany and approved by the state’s highest court in January, the districts of Max Pavlovich, whose office is in Richland Township, and Charity Nileski’s district based in Cresson Township are eliminated effective Jan. 1.

Barron and District Judge Rick Varner of Sidman will end up with portions of Pavlovich’s district. Some of Barron’s and Varner’s districts are being moved into neighboring magisterial districts.

Pavlovich will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 this year and would not have sought re-election. Nileski, who could have run for re-election this year, could have served just one additional year before reaching 70, but chose to retire.

The county will continue to lease Nileski’s office, just off Admiral Peary Highway from Cresson Township, to house the office of District Judge Galen Decort, who is now on Main Street in Portage.

Decort will pick up much of the area now covered by Nileski.

Some minor changes will be needed at the Cresson Township building, all interior changes to improve security, Valko said.

 Decort will not relocate to the Cresson site until the end of the year.

Barron and Pavlovich’s offices were on either end of the new district and the Belmont Street location is more centrally located, Valko said recently.

While the salaries of district judges are paid by the state, the county covers staff costs. Lengenfelder said the realignment will cut two staff members through attrition.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.

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