County Ratifies Tentative Agreement for Guards; Abolishes Office of Jury Commissioner

GantDaily File Photo

GantDaily File Photo

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners voted to ratify its global tentative agreement with Teamsters Local 205 for the guards at the Clearfield County Jail at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said this contract falls in line with the other Teamsters contracts that the county has recently negotiated. He said the four-year contract included a 2 percent raise and contributions for medical coverage.

In other business, the commissioners voted to pass a resolution to abolish the office of the jury commissioner. Commissioner Chairperson Joan Robinson-McMillen said that Gov. Tom Corbett had signed into law, Act 4 of 2013, to authorize the board of commissioners to abolish the office of the jury commissioner.

Robinson-McMillen said the commissioners had conferred with Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman and Judge Paul E. Cherry, as well as the court administrator for the Court of Common Pleas and both jury commissioners. She said they’ve determined the county can and will conduct jury selection in a method and manner that ensures the list of potential jurors are a representative cross-section of the community and in compliance with the act.

McCracken said there will be a transition period, as the current jury commissioners will serve through the end of the current-year. He noted there could still be an appeal of the act by the state’s Jury Commissioners Association, and the counties would have to deal with it if that should occur. Robinson-McMillen said the last time, 42 of 67 counties had passed resolutions to abolish their offices of jury commissioners.

Before conducting business at their regular meeting, Robinson-McMillen wanted to remind county veterans, active military personnel and their dependents that they should never pay for any assistance to apply for veteran’s benefits. ClearfieldCounty, according to her, has one of the largest veteran populations, and it’s important for them to get their benefits and services.

 “We’ve seen advertisements from businesses that offer veterans assistance in applying for benefits for free and then end up charging a fee for financial planning services,’’ Brig. Gen. Mike Gould, the state’s deputy adjutant general for veterans, stated in a press release provided by the board.

 “We need to get the word out that veterans should never pay for these services,’’ Gould added. “Free assistance is readily available from any accredited veterans service officer at the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, their County Director of Veterans Affairs, or through a chartered veterans service organization such as the American Legion, VFW, DAV, or AMVETS to name a few.”

McCracken said that ClearfieldCounty’s veteran population should be aware of these entities that will charge them. Also, he said by paying, it will not speed up their benefits application process. McCracken said, “It’s unfortunate, but it’s a scam, and our county’s veterans need to know if they come see us, the VFW, AMVETS, etc., they will not be charged.”

According to the press release, county directors of Veterans Affairs are accredited veterans service officers that provide veterans and their dependents assistance to identify and help determine eligibility for a wide range of veterans benefits, assist in the preparation of applications for county, state and federal veteran’s benefits and programs such as: the payment of burial allowances; ensuring grave markers and headstones are properly requested and placed; direct application for state programs like the

Disabled Veterans Real Estate Tax Exemption Program, Veterans Emergency Assistance, Blind and Paralyzed Veterans Pensions and the Education Gratuity Program; and federal health care benefits, service connected disability and non-service connected disability pensions, and survivor benefits.

For more information about veterans’ affairs and benefits, visit the DMVA online at www.dmva.state.pa.us and click on Veterans Affairs.

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