Sheriff?s Request for Desk Audits Dies for Lack of Second in Salary Board Meeting

Wesley B. Thurston (Provided photo)

CLEARFIELD ? Clearfield County Sheriff Wes Thurston wants to be sure two clerks who work in his office have job classifications that match their duties.  

At Tuesday?s county salary board meeting, Thurston requested desk audits to be performed on both Department Clerk II positions in his office.

A desk audit is an opportunity to detail job duties and to provide examples. The purpose is to make sure the job?s classification is in-line with an employee?s duties.

Thurston made a motion to have the two desk audits performed by a third party. However, his motion died due to a lack of second from another member of the salary board.

Prior to his motion, Thurston detailed the reasoning for his request. He said since the last audit and classification, both positions have changed a great deal and become more complex.

The first clerk handles bench warrants and license to carry permits. He said she has to be especially attentive and ensure the paperwork for permits is completed correctly.

He said the office receives notifications about individuals who have been committed to mental health institutions and the clerk has ?quite the responsible task? to revoke permits.

Additionally, if she is notified an individual has a Protection from Abuse order against them, she has to check to see if they possess a license to carry, and if they do, it must be revoked so long as the PFA is active.

In regards to the bench warrants, Thurston said this clerk has to communicate with court officials and make sure the desired transportation arrangements are made for prisoners outside of the area.

?It takes a lot of tracking, and it?s a complex task,? Thurston said. Oftentimes he said people ? attorneys, family members and others – call and seek information about bench warrants.

Thurston said this leaves the clerk to determine why the caller is interested in the case and to make a judgment call on whether or not to release that information.

He said the clerks are constantly receiving calls from other departments that have picked up a wanted person, and they have to make all of the arrangements for that, as well.

Thurston noted he recently lost an experienced clerk with more than 40 years of experience. He said now the clerks are inundated with lines of people that extend out the door for permits and so forth.

?Aside from the complexity of the work, it becomes very mind boggling to try to stay on top of that,? he said.

Thurston added that the second clerk for whom he?s requesting a desk audit has assumed all of the duties of the experienced clerk he lost to retirement. Plus, she?s offering the other clerks assistance on an as needed basis.

He said she has 16 major responsibilities, which are all above and beyond what he considers as duties for an average clerk. He said she isn?t simply answering phones, transferring calls, managing files and sorting mail.

Thurston said he has a third position, which he recently filled, and it?s more of an entry level position that doesn?t need a desk audit. He said his office?s fourth position is the office manager and it already has the proper classification.

When his motion died for lack of second, Thurston asked about his options for seeking desk audits on these two clerk positions.

Commissioner Tony Scotto advised that he wasn?t sure how to direct Thurston. Thurston said all he wanted was an audit to say yes or no, and if he had to, he would file a civil suit against the county to get an audit.

Thurston said he wanted to make sure their job classifications matched their duties and salaries.

?Obviously, no person in this room ? other than myself – feels they deserve to have a desk audit,? he said. ?And, that?s a problem. It shows me a lack of cooperation on the part of the commissioners and the salary board.

?All I will tell you is that I will continue the process. If it takes a civil suit, I?ll do whatever it takes to get it done.? Scotto told Thurston that was fine and his own prerogative.

After the commissioners? meeting, Scotto explained the county will be facing a problematic budget situation and they must be very cognizant when it comes to spending taxpayers? dollars. Both Commissioners John Sobel and Mark B. McCracken concurred.

Sobel added that Thurston?s term is nearing its expiration, and he?d much rather deal with any staffing issues after the newly-elected sheriff takes office next year.


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