County Lifts Freeze on Spending Money

After the recommendation of Executive Director of Administration Dan Lucovich (far right), county commissioners have ‘thawed’ an employment and capital improvement freezes.

by Jonathan Weaver

The warmer weather may have created a spending increase in Armstrong County.

Since the beginning of 2016, County Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai have maintained a few spending ‘freezes,’ but approved a ‘thaw’ earlier this month.

Executive Director of Administration Dan Lucovich recommended the ending of the freezes is due to “some needed vacancies that need filled and some major improvements that need to take place in the county.”

“It’s an opportunity that as we go forward to keep improving the county, if there are new vacancies that need to be developed and filled, we want to make sure we can have those opportunities to do that,” Lucovich expanded.

Lucovich noted some upcoming vacancies, some via retirement, which may or may not be filled.

“But, we want to have the opportunity to replace them if they are needed,” Lucovich said.

As of yesterday, more than a half-dozen job postings are available via the county website – six that have been posted since July 8. Employment includes positions such as within the Department of Public Safety, the Armstrong County Health Center and the Department of Community and Economic Development.

For instance, a trio of Armstrong County Jail part-time corrections officers resigned between Memorial Day and Flag Day (June 14), but only one opening is currently listed online.

When it comes to capital purchases, Lucovich specifically identified an air-conditioning problem in both the county administration building and courthouse that could take “major dollars to fix.”

“Sometimes when you stop making capital improvements, they catch up to you,” Lucovich concluded.

The air conditioning system was installed in 2008.

Commissioner Chair Pat Fabian said he had no problem with the ‘thaw.’
“We need to keep the county moving forward,” Fabian said. “We’ll just evaluate employment, capital purchases on a case-by-case basis.”

Fabian also hinted at a mid-year report of the overall county finances being released as soon as this Thursday.

“Simply because something was budgeted doesn’t necessarily mean it was approved,” Commissioner George Skamai added.

Commissioners meet again this Thursday morning in the County Administration Building on Market Street in Kittanning.