Luzerne County’s new citizen manager search committee is down to four people because member Robert Fisher is leaving the area to accept a new job.
Fisher, of Salem Township, said he has accepted a three- or four-month interim hospital executive engagement in Kansas starting Jan. 11.
“This situation was unexpected when I accepted appointment to this committee as I was just contacted over the holidays. Since this is one of the services I provide through my consulting business, I cannot pass up the opportunity,” Fisher wrote in his resignation letter.
The council had voted Dec. 15 to appoint Fisher and citizens Carmen Ambrosino, Gene A. Camoni, Gerard O’Donnell and Michael Giamber to the committee.
The county’s home rule charter requires at least three citizens on the committee, but the council opted for five to encourage more viewpoints. An even number — four or six — was not considered to prevent tie votes.
However, committee members agreed during a meeting Friday morning to ask the council to keep the fifth seat vacant.
The committee already held three meetings and set a Jan. 18 target to advertise the manager position. There was a concern it would be counterproductive adding someone new to the mix at this stage.
The county council will discuss the vacancy at Tuesday’s work session as part of a status report on the manager search, said council Chairwoman Linda McClosky Houck.
Three other citizens had applied to serve on the committee.
Committee members also are seeking clarification on how the council intends to proceed if it is not satisfied with the finalists recommended by the committee.
The subject came up at a recent county council meeting, when Councilman Rick Williams asked if the committee will furnish additional finalists to the council if the council members don’t select one of the three- to five recommended by the committee.
Giamber, the committee chairman, told the council a search committee would be meaningless if the council members want to “go through the list” of applicants themselves.
The manager position is treated differently than others under the home rule charter because it requires formation of the special citizen search committee.
Here’s what the charter says on the matter: “After conducting its search, screening, and interview process, the Search Committee shall recommend the candidates it believes are the most qualified to County Council for its consideration.”