Court House Rallies to Do Damage Control

(L-R) Armstrong County Commissioners Jason Renshaw, Pat Fabian, and George Skamai sit at the table with Executive Director of Administration Dan Lucovich in the Commissioners Conference Room. Comments made by commissioners during last Thursday’s public meeting created a firestorm among Health Center employees when they announced the sale of the Health Center may be in jeopardy.

After last Thursday’s public meeting where the Armstrong County Commissioners told the public that the sale of the Health Center is in jeopardy, the administration immediately went into damage control mode.

Dan Lucovich, Executive Director of Administration in the Commissioner’s office, who has referred to himself as the “Unelected Fourth Commissioner,” sent a memo out to Health Center staff.

The memo, in part, said: “The progress between Armstrong County and Premier Healthcare Management is on track and productive and we hope to have the Asset Purchase Agreement and the Operations Transfer Agreement completed by the end of next week. If we have these agreements within the next couple weeks, we anticipate a closing around June 1, 2017.”

Commissioners said Thursday that Controller Myra Miller is to be blamed for the sale of the Health Center potentially being ruined; yet told Health Center workers in a memorandum Friday that everything was on course and there were no problems.

The commissioners in the public meeting had blamed Armstrong County Controller Myra Miller for potentially derailing the sale after she had met with health center employees to discuss their retirement options. Miller, who oversees retirement of county employees, said the meeting was not unusual nor out of her scope of authority. The Controller’s office has traditionally dealt with county employees concerning matters related to their pension. An unidentified employee in court house administration postulated that the commissioners may attempt to move that authority from Miller to Lucovich as retaliation for the law suit. The commissioners have been in a legal battle the last few months with Miller since they cut funding to the Controller’s office.

The commissioners’ remarks in a public meeting were unprecedented because employee and contractual matters are not required to be discussed publicly under the Sunshine Act. Many viewed the tactic as an attempt to discredit Miller’s credibility by Commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw, and George Skamai.