Two longtime county employees were recognized for their service by the Lebanon County Commissioners Thursday, receiving proclamations for their work.
Nicholas “Nick” Bradley recently retired after 31 years working in the Domestic Relations office.
Bradley began as an assistant enforcement officer and worked his way up to conference officer.
Bradley thanked the commissioners for the opportunity to serve the county.
“We’re here to help the children and the families of Lebanon County,” Bradley said.
Commissioner Joellen Litz noted what a hard job it must be, emotionally, working in Domestic Relations, and asked Bradley how he managed to stay at the department for so many years.
“By not taking it home,” Bradley said. “You try to keep an open mind and treat everyone fairly. You don’t take it personally; that’s the bottom line.
“There are very stressful situations and you have to separate the personal side from doing the job,” Bradley said.
Half a dozen of Bradley’s fellow employees came to the commissioners’ meeting to see Bradley receive his proclamation for service.
Also on hand to congratulate him was Karen Hess, Director of Domestic Relations.
Also honored for her outstanding long-time service was Heather Moehlmann-Karnes, who will be retiring Feb. 29 after 25 years at the Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention program of Lebanon County
Moehlmann-Karnes will be retiring from her position as child/adolescent resource coordination case manager.
“It’s been a privilege working for the county,” she said. “It’s been rewarding.”
Moehlmann-Karnes also thanked God for the health to stay at her job for 25 years and the opportunity to work for the county.
“I want to thank my husband Bob for being a true support in these 25 years, and I want to thank my family; sometimes we forget to do that,” Moehlmann-Karnes said.
She also expressed appreciation to the county commissioners.
“How cool of you to encourage us every year, with awards and with employee days,” she said.
Holly Leahy, executive director of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention, stopped in to offer her congratulations to Moehlmann-Karnes for a job well done.
“She played such an important role in helping children and adults to be successful,” Leahy said. “She is so compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated and so important to our program.”
The commissioners congratulated both long time employees for their service.
“The jobs we have here are among the toughest that society has to offer,” said Commissioner Bob Phillips.
In another matter, Dennis Firestone, purchasing agent for the county, notified the commissioners of bids to repair a bridge known as “CO-1” that is located in south Heidelberg Township.
The bridge is located on a gravel road on Pumping Station Road, off Obey Road, and is an old concrete bridge with sandstone abutments, County Clerk Jamie Wolgemuth told the commissioners.
“Its construction is obsolete,” Wolgemuth said.
Some time ago, an 18-wheeled truck struck the bridge after being guided to the small road by a GPS at night, he said.
That resulted in two tow trucks working the better part of a day to remove the 18-wheeler from the bridge, where it had got caught on the abutment, extensively damaging it.
The target cost for the bridge repair is $79,000, Firestone said.
Bids range from $69,952 to $248,000.
Damage to the bridge will be re-assessed by an engineer, and the contract for repair may be awarded in March.
In other business, Ann Gruber of Jackson Township shared some complaints she had about the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.
The inmates are being unfairly charged for the snacks and necessities they may buy at the prison commissary, she said. The prices are too high, she said, giving an example of a cup of Ramen noodles being sold to inmates for one dollar, when the price in supermarkets is half that.
Gruber also took issue with the communication allowed at the prison, saying it was “too closed up.”
“They can fill out slips, like a request slip, but it’s not a very honorable system,” Gruber said. “I’d like to see some improvement.”
She also expressed concerns about the re-entry program for inmates being released from jail.
“I see people coming from incarceration that don’t have any resources,” Gruber said. “I know you’ve tried to do some good there, but it isn’t enough.”
They need a second chance, Gruber said, and there should be a push for employment being available to the former inmates.
“Imagine having nothing; no clothing that’s yours, no place to live,” Gruber said. “I’m not saying we should give everybody the world, but how do we help them build a life?
“That would help with the recidivism rate, which can be up to 60 or 70 percent in some counties,” Gruber said. “I would like to be part of a solution.”
The commissioners did not immediately address those issues at the meeting, but said they would look into her concerns.
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Full Disclosure: The campaigns of Bill Ames, Bob Phillips, and Jo Ellen Litz were advertisers on LebTown during the previous election cycle. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.