SOMERSET – A number of Somerset County’s departments and offices were shaken up on Monday morning at a special reorganizational meeting of the Somerset County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners Gerald Walker and John P. Terlingo voted to accept the resignations of two jail employees – Deputy Warden John Caron, effective Nov. 30, and Lt. Toni Maranowski, effective Dec. 18. The third member of the board, Commissioner John P. Vatavuk, was absent from the meeting.

The board also promoted Somerset resident Dennis Vought from full-time correctional officer to deputy warden, promoted Sean Ibinson from part-time correctional officer to full-time correctional officer and hired four new part-time correctional officers.

The moves came less than two months after the commissioners hired a new warden at the jail – Michael Porter, who moved to Somerset County from a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, to take the job. Porter, whose hiring was officially approved on Nov. 13, replaced Gregory Briggs, who oversaw the jail from 2011 until he resigned in October to take a job in Dauphin County.

Also on Monday, the commissioners approved the hiring of Scott Stuttard, of Altoona, to direct the county’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Department, effective Dec. 18.

“That guy’s doing an excellent job,” Terlingo said of Stuttard. 

“There’s more things going on right now than there have been for a long time. I think he has jumped in feet-first on everything. I’m impressed by the guy, and I’m not easily impressed.”

Other new employees hired on Monday included two Area Agency on Aging employees – an aging care manager and a part-time meal deliverer – and a part-time deputy sheriff.

One hiring – that of Matthew Cody Graham as operations and maintenance manager – drew criticism from several county residents who spoke during the meeting’s public comment period. They wondered aloud why the commissioners hired Graham, who comes from Texas, instead of promoting an internal candidate or hiring another area resident.

“Is there no one within that department that would qualify, that’s familiar with the facilities, the sites, the workings of the whole system, that you would hire outside?” asked county resident Melissa Trent. “You had many qualified people within the county that would have qualified for that.”

Walker replied that the commissioners “went over everyone’s qualifications and matched it to the job description and made a decision.”

The back-and-forth continued until Solicitor Michael Barbera stepped in to state that the county has a policy of not commenting on personnel matters.

The District Attorney’s Office saw changes Monday as well, as Detective John Loiodici, a Rockwood resident, was promoted to chief detective, while former Chief Detective Jason Hunter, of Windber, was reassigned as a detective. Both moves were effective Dec. 19.

Also on Monday, the county’s salary board set 2019 salaries for county employees.

Mark Pesto is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkPesto.