LISBON - Columbiana County Recorder Craig Brown will be able to keep one of the three employees he planned to furlough after county commissioners provided him with additional funding.
Commissioners agreed at Wednesday's meeting to transfer $18,000 from the county general fund to the recorder's office, which they say is enough for him to retain one of the employees scheduled to be laid off starting Labor Day.
Commissioner Jim Hoppel, who was chairing the meeting in the absence of Mike Halleck, said this was done in recognition of the fact Brown needs to keep a staff of at least three deputy clerks to keep up with the volume of deeds still needing processed because of the shale gas boom.
"There's still a bit of work to be done on that, and we want them to get caught up," he said.
This comes a week after Brown advised three of his five employees - Peggiann "Beth" Beverly, Matt Plegge and Tina Frantz - they would be laid off starting Sept. 3. The notices were issued after commissioners informed Brown the auditor's office had advised them the recorder's office was on pace to run out of money by early November at current spending levels.
Brown told the newspaper he needed about $40,000 in additional funding to get through the year but later advised commissioners $96,493 more would be required, which included $29,114 to pay his salary and benefits.
Brown will use the money to keep one of employees scheduled to be furloughed, Frantz, since she has the most seniority of the three.
"Certainly, the recorder's office needs more funding, and I'm glad they recognize this ... Obviously, they are making an effort to work together, and that's a good thing," he said of commissioners.
This will leave the office short only one regular employee. Beverly was hired earlier in the year on a part-time basis to supervise the off-site office opened for people performing mineral rights searches on behalf of drilling companies. While the office was closed earlier this month because the index records are now available online, Brown decided to retain Beverly and upgrade her status to full-time employee at the same time commissioners notified him he was running out of money. Beverly's position was paid for with donations from the shale gas industry.
Brown pointed out before that commissioners used some of the $3.2 million received for leasing county property to Chesapeake Energy to repave the courthouse parking lot but were unwilling to provide him with additional funding. He said some of the funding problems could be alleviated if they let the recorder's office keep its copying fees, like they do for at least one other office.