County manager gave ‘state of the county’ report Tuesday

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Luzerne County Manager Romilda Crocamo opened her “state of the county” address by recalling her “let’s get to work” statement made when council hired her for the top management position last May.

“I’m pleased to say we have,” Crocamo said during the presentation at council’s Tuesday work session.

She spoke of progress making county government more efficient and exploring alternative revenue while enhancing the delivery of essential services.

Topping her list: County government overall is now earning half a million dollars in interest income each month by ensuring it is receiving the best rate on all cash holdings, she said.

Speaking in a hoarse voice lingering from a cold, Crocamo highlighted some of the past year’s developments in eight divisions.

For example, the community development office has a mortgage foreclosure diversionary program with a 63% success rate that helped 34 families remain in their homes.

The information technology department has hosted a server backup/recovery solution that will ensure data is not lost if the county is hit with another cyber attack as it was in 2019, she said.

A payroll processing and employee time-tracking upgrade through the county’s New World Management System will eliminate the need for two other outside contracts, saving an estimated $100,000 annually, she said.

In the county prison system, a full-time criminal intelligence unit has been set up to work with the county drug task force to eliminate contraband, she said.

County correctional services also partnered with the inmate health care provider and other county departments to create the division’s first medically-assisted treatment program for inmates with substance use disorder.

Some others cited by Crocamo include:

• Children and Youth was selected for a state initiative aimed at furthering collaboration between the agency and judiciary to enhance meaningful family involvement in child welfare cases.

• Through grant funding, Drug and Alcohol has connected nearly 600 residents with substance use disorder to housing/rental assistance linked to their success remaining substance-free and meeting treatment goals.

• Mental Health and Developmental Services has trained 88 professionals in the law enforcement and corrections field on solutions to assist those with a mental illness and/or addiction.

• The coroner’s office implemented a fee to recoup costs from for-profit institutions requiring services that should not be necessary from the office.

• Archived deed records are now stored in an approved PDF format instead of microfilm.

• The sheriff’s department expanded its in-house training.

• Office of Law attorneys are handling more cases in-house to decrease the cost of outside legal counsel.

• A water infiltration problem in the courthouse sub-basement has been corrected.

• The public defender’s office has hired a bilingual investigator to assist its many Spanish-speaking clients.

The list went on. A complete copy is posted in council’s work session agenda at

Crocamo said collaboration is essential to progress, noting the county controller’s office has provided valuable input and assistance in many areas.

“It’s not me. It’s all of us,” she said.

Mentioning one example not in the report, planning/zoning, mapping/GIS and other departments collaborated to create a county roadway management platform that will contain all past documents associated with the infrastructure and serve as the repository to record and track future updates, she said.

Crocamo closed by describing the work of multiple county departments in a Feb. 15 fire at the B’nai B’rith Senior Apartments on East Northampton Street in Wilkes-Barre that temporarily forced dozens of occupants out of their apartments.

A shelter had been set up for the residents at GAR Middle School in Wilkes-Barre with help from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.

Crocamo said the county’s Department of Emergency Services responded and contacted the county Area Agency on Aging.

The on-call aging agency worker immediately intervened to ensure emergency needs were met, and the next day nine agency workers visited the shelter to complete assessments and link residents to community resources.

These assessments showed a need for mental health support, so the county’s Mental Health/Developmental Services department arranged for those services through area providers. This department also set up daily update calls with all agencies involved.

“That my friends is your county employees, and they should be applauded,” Crocamo said. “They didn’t get any accolades. They didn’t get any articles in the newspaper, but they were there when the citizens of Luzerne County needed them.”

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.