County Controller Clarifies Vote on Hirings

Armstrong County Controller Myra Miller - shown here in a Kittanning Paper file photo from 2011 - wants to clarify for local residents that she did not vote on who to appoint for the newly-created Public Information Director or Marketing Director positions, but only voted on creating the positions.

by Jonathan Weaver

While a newly-hired County official steps into office today, a re-elected one is defending her role.

After receiving harsh public speculation over the appointment of part-time Public Information Director Thomas Porter and Marketing and County Enhancement Director Allison Ball – who is to begin her duties today – , Armstrong County Controller Myra Miller explained her role in the process.

At a recessed Salary Board meeting January 12, the three County Commissioners – Richard Fink, David Battaglia and Bob Bower –and Miller met and took a 3-1 vote.

“It was 3-1 to create the position, but as far as filling the position that is up the Board of Commissioners and a representative from the board you are hiring – it was not my department and I did not hire those people, Miller said.

“We do not in Salary Board hire people – we just create positions and set the salary range,” Miller added.

Miller said she received negative feedback from residents after it was reported in this and another publication that she voted to hire Porter and Ball.

Commissioner Fink was the dissenting vote during the public meeting. The decision of who to appoint to the positions was discussed in a personnel action meeting not open to the public.

Chief Clerk George Skamai was at the Salary Board meetings and also reportedly at the personnel action meeting.

Miller, who said she was ‘out-of-the-loop’ as to who would be hired, defended the creation of the positions.

“There was money to pay those two positions and they sounded like they were good for the County, as far as bringing jobs in, so I didn’t have a problem creating those positions,” Miller said. “I wasn’t involved in that other stuff.”

“If it would’ve been my employee, I would’ve had a vote, but it wasn’t my employee,” Miller added.

The Salary Board is scheduled to meet next in February. An agenda has not yet been set.