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Guccini sets retirement as Pike County Commissioner

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Pike County Commissioner Steven Guccini

MILFORD – Pike County Commissioner Steven Guccini announced at their November 3rd meeting, that he has decided to retire from his elected position at the end of 2021, two years before his current term expires.

“There is no hidden agenda,” Guccini said, citing instead his reason to step down, he will be turning 70 and wishes to have more time to travel to be able to see his four grandchildren more often.

Chairman Matthew Osterberg said that the procedure to fill Guccini’s unexpired term falls to President Judge Gregory Chelak, who will appoint a successor. The term runs out at the end of 2023; the appointee would need to be on the ballot that year. The chairman said that when the judge made his late appointment when commissioner

Richard Caridi stepped down, the public was welcomed to submit resumes for consideration.

By statute there has to be a minority party position on the board, and the nominee will have to be of the same political affiliation. In this instance it will be a Democrat. Commissioners Osterberg and Ronald Schmalzle are Republicans.

While no more is known about who the judge may pick, Osterberg commented that he thinks it is really appropriate to name someone with background as an attorney, as has been the case with Guccini and his predecessor, retired commissioner Karl Wagner.

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Osterberg noted that their solicitor Thomas Farley is very capable and each matter will be brought to he solicitor for consultation. Nevertheless, during discussions between meetings, Osterberg noted it has been helpful having one of their commissioners will a legal background. He said it was “very possible” that the new appointee will be another attorney.

Guccini did not take time at this meeting to reminisce or reflect on his role serving as commissioner of Pike County, but said being a lawyer they can count on him to “pontificate” about his experiences, at their last meeting or near the last meeting of 2021.

His fellow commissioners lauded Guccini’s time in office. “We’re a good team up here for the years we have been serving together,” Osterberg said. “… We enjoyed his professionalism and everything he tried to do best for the county… This is a nonpolitical job. This is about the residents of the county. It’s not about politics.”

Fixing roads and bridges, providing for EMS services and help for people with addictions have all been part of what the Pike County commissioners are doing, and Osterberg stressed that Guccini has been an integral part of it all.

Schmalzle stated, “This is a good, cohesive group of people who work together I think for the greater good of what we’re trying to accomplish.” Being from diverse backgrounds, Schmalzle said they have been able to sort out responsibilities. “Thank you, Steve, for working with us in a most cooperative and professional way, and we only wish you the very best,” he said.

Solicitor Farley added, “Steve has worked well with me. It has been nothing but positive. I never had a conflict with a Democrat sitting in the chair.”

The chairman noted Guccini is still on the board the rest of this year and will be helping craft the 2022 county budget.

Guccini was first elected as commissioner in November 2014. The Greentown resident operated a private practice in the Hawley area for 30 years, and served 12 years as an assistant district attorney for Pike County. In the latter role he headed the child-abuse task force and was also an assistant public defender for two years.

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As commissioner he has been active with the opioid task force and the tick-borne-diseases task force. He is co-chair of the county’s Reentry Coalition, which seeks to reduce recidivism by supporting returning citizens as they transition to their communities after incarceration.

He currently serves on the following county boards: Children and Youth Advisory board, Aging Advisory board, Mental Health advisory board, Council of Governments, and Scenic Rural Character Preservation Board.

Guccini also serves as chairman of the Pike County United Way.

Also discussed:

Among other items, the commissioners agreed to create the position of Director Victim Services and delete the position of Victim/Witness Director and Grants Manager in the District Attorney’s Office, retroactive to October 4. Sara Loeb was subsequently promoted to this newly created position with her salary increased to $65,000 for the full-time position.

Four full-time Correctional Officers were hired: Laverne Gordon, Monica Rodriguez, Eybar Taymes and David Babalola. Pay in each case was set at the Union rate of $24.00 per hour.

Pike County 4-H is in desperate need of adult volunteers to lead youth groups. For more information contact Penn State Extension in Pike County at 570-296-3400 or email 4-H coordinator Angela Smith at axs1397@psu.edu.

The next regular Pike County commissioners’ meeting is scheduled Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford. Meetings are aired live on the county’s YouTube channel, accessible at pikepa.org.

This article originally appeared on Tri-County Independent: Pike County Commissioner Steven Guccini will retire from his post at the end of 2021.