Vanco to fill in as county liason with workforce board

The Warren County Commissioners haven’t passed a resolution authorizing representation to the Northwest Pennsylvania Workforce Investment Board, but Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco will act as a liaison until further steps are taken.

“I’m very appreciative of Mr. (John) Bortz’s service, I have no quarrel with his reasoning for withdrawing from it, but I think that given that organization is in flux, as he pointed out there’s a lot of things going on. I think that we need a representative to it to provide some input on behalf of the county. I realize we could call them up and ask them what’s going on and stuff, but I really would like to see us have a representative on that,” Commissioner John Eggleston said during the commissioners’ meeting Wednesday morning.

Commissioner John Bortz said he has contacted the WIB indicating any further communication should be sent to Vanco.

“We still have concerns, we still haven’t adopted the resolution,” Vanco said.

Those concerns led Bortz to resign as appointed representative in May and the commissioners have been tabling the resolution at recent meetings, in part, due to concerns that language in the resolution would allow a single representative to the board could make decisions on behalf of the county, which the county would then be financially obligated to comply with.

In the past, the commissioners have expressed an informal policy of not making agreements in which a single commissioner could bind the county to decisions.

Bortz previously described the WIB as being made up of a “three-legged stool” structure:

The Chief Local Elected Officials acts as a governing body, and includes a commissioner from Warren, Clarion, Crawford, Forest and Venango counties as well as a county executive from Erie County.

The Regional Center for Workforce Excellence (RCWE) acts as a fiscal agent and administers programs, and the Workforce Investment Board itself which is a consortium made up of volunteers from the private sector business community.

“The WIB acts as both the planning council for the region on areas of workforce development and as the Board of Directors for our local workforce investment area. The purpose of the WIB is to focus on strategic planning, policy development, oversight of the system and establishment of priorities for all workforce development funds in our region,” according to the Northwest Pennsylvania Workforce Development website.

Bortz, meanwhile, cited organizational issues in his decision to resign as a member of the Chief Local Elected Officials of the WIB.

The county commissioners have been hesitant to appoint representation to the organization since Clarion, Forest and Venango counties have been considering a split from the larger WIB.

“It’s pretty tough to act as a region if you’re not sure you’re even regional in nature,” Bortz said Wednesday.

Eggleston said “after nine and half years in office, this is nothing new, we’ve been in and out of regional things,” and cited the Bradford Regional Airport Authority formed in the 1960s, which Eggleston is a member of, as a regional organization to which the county does not contribute financially but does offer input.

“Officially from this point forward, the name on the letterhead is going to be Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco…,” said Bortz. “He’s the representative, we haven’t said we’re comfortable with this resolution.”

The commissioners also approved a request for a county match of $803,820 from Warren Forest Human Services for the 2014 calendar year.

Bortz said the request reflects the allocation from last year and is the second largest county allocation next to the county jail.

The figure from the county is needed for Human Services to submit its budget request to the state, Vanco said, adding, “It is a somewhat firm figure, but when we do our figure it could be changed.”

That happened last year when the Human Services county match was reduced by $90,000 to $803,820, Bortz said.

A repository tax bid was also approved to Donald R. Rob for parcel YV-729-346400-000 in Pittsfield for $1,000.