County eyes axing jury commissioner posts to save money

BROOKVILLE — This week, the Jefferson County Commissioners said eliminating the positions of jury commissioner would save the county $12,000.

“Twelve-thousand dollars — that is the savings. That, in and of itself, is enough for me,” commissioner Jim McIntyre said.

The elimination of this position is a statewide movement proposed a few years ago. It has passed in the state House of Representatives and is now in the state Senate.

County Commission Chairman Paul Corbin called the position a “duplication of services.”

“The court secretary does a majority of the work preparing the list of people who are called for jury duty,” he said. “The jury commissioners sent out the notices, but for the amount of money it’s costing us, I feel it would be more efficient if the court would just handle it all.”
Commissioner Jeff Pisarchik agreed with McIntyre and Corbin.

“The concept is that it saves money for the taxpayers,” he said.

However, the commissioners have not heard any updates in about three weeks.

There are two elected part-time jury commissioners serving four-year terms; they may not be members of the same political party.

Current Jury Commissioner Francis Tattersall, a Democrat, said that she enjoys her job, and she would definitely be upset if her position were to be eliminated.

“It would take votes away from the public,” she said. “Who is the public going to go out and vote for? To me, that’s a dictatorship.”

Mabel Dunkle, who is the Republican jury commissioner, is also upset about this possibility.

“They have been trying to do this for years and years,” she said. “Jury commissioners are honest people. We do not show partiality. If they eliminate us, who’s going to choose the peers so that those being tried get a fair trial?”

In other business:
• At the start of the meeting, McIntyre called for a moment of silence in remembrance of local radio personality Gary Stormer, who recently died from pancreatic cancer.

• The commissioners appointed Karen May as assessor for the Borough of Brockway.

• The commissioners approved invoices in the amount of $611,677.72 for the period May 25 through June 14, inclusive, and pending invoices in the amount of $24,982.96.

• The commissioners approved the actual gross payroll in the amount of $200,053.40 for the period May 22 through June 4, inclusive.

• The commissioners approved the tentative gross payroll in the amount of $200,000 for payment for the period June 5 through June 18, inclusive.

• The commissioners approved the following applications for county aid for an allocation of County Liquid Tax Funds:
$10,000 to the Borough of Reynoldsville for repairs to borough streets.
$15,000 to Rose Township for roadway resurfacing.
$15,000 to Young Township to realign roads to eliminate bad curves.

• The next commission meeting will be held June 28.