Search committee applicants discuss traits of next Luzerne County manager

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -

What’s an essential trait of Luzerne County government’s next manager?

A strong communicator ranks high on the list of most of the nine citizens interested in helping with the manager search.

The council spent three hours interviewing the nine citizens Wednesday night and will pick at least three next week to serve on the search committee required by the county’s home rule charter.

A committee must be activated because county Manager Robert Lawton has resigned, effective Dec. 31, after nearly four years at the helm. Some council members have complained that Lawton did not keep them informed of problems, such as fiscal struggles and a Children and Youth license downgrade.

The nine prospective committee members were asked identical questions. A synopsis of their replies to one of these questions to describe the ideal manager candidate:

• Robert E. Fisher, Salem Township: A least a decade of senior executive management experience, a master’s degree in public or business administration, demonstrated leadership and financial skills, past work reporting to a board or council and the ability to work under pressure and public scrutiny while overseeing a complex organization.

• Gene A. Camoni, Swoyersville: The ability to understand the county and its “culture,” visible enthusiasm for the challenge of overseeing county government, proven leadership skills, experience efficiently managing and evaluating department heads and considering new ideas “no matter where they come from.”

• Carmen F. Ambrosino, Hughestown: A leader and innovator who is motivated, familiar with the latest technology, a “bold thinker,” a catalyst, “very dynamic” and inspiring to the level that workers and others will rally behind his or her directives by choice instead of obligation.

• James J. Haggerty, Kingston: He believes the council members must identify the traits they believe are highest priority — such as financial experience, operational and problem-solving skills or energy and charisma — because the council will make the final selection of finalists recommended by the committee.

• Melia Molinaro, Butler Township: A strong financial background, intelligence and passion for the job.

• Gerard T. O’Donnell, Kingston Township: The ability to “bring us together as a county” and be a problem-solver and visionary with a strong financial and budgeting background who works hard and has common sense and a sense of humor.

• Michael Giamber, Fairmount Township: A “change agent” and leader with knowledge of the latest processes and techniques used in government and private industry and experience overseeing major transitions, thinking outside the box and building trust.

• Brad Trutt, Foster Township: A team builder with strong management skills to ensure directives are both issued and executed who can “get everyone on one team” and build consensus as much as possible by communicating a vision and keeping everyone informed of both the good and bad.

• Christopher B. Slusser, Sugarloaf Township: Demonstrated management, fiscal and interpersonal skills with the ability to step into the role and make tough decisions while gaining the respect of employees and public and trust of the council.

Larksville resident Hilary Palencar also applied to serve on the committee but withdrew before the public interviews.

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

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