Three vacant Luzerne County division head positions have been re-advertised at a higher $99,500 annual salary cap, according to new postings on the county’s website.

County Manager Randy Robertson told county council last week he believes the action is necessary to attract highly qualified applicants for the “extremely challenging and highly complex positions” of chief solicitor/law division head and the division heads overseeing administrative and operational services.

The manager can raise the salaries without council’s consent as long as the funds are budgeted, although he must provide a five-day notice to council under its administrative code. In this case, the administration has determined funds from vacant positions could cover the increased compensation this year.

Council members had expressed mixed views on the plan. Robertson had stressed the $99,500 was a maximum and that the actual pay offered to chosen applicants would be based on their qualifications.

The compensation that had been paid to the last employees holding these three positions: chief solicitor, $96,444; administrative services division head, $90,874; and operational services division head, $91,087.

In anticipation of Robertson’s June 13 arrival, the administration had posted the positions earlier this month at a salary of $96,000 for the chief solicitor and $90,000 for the operational and administrative services division heads. Those who responded to the initial posting do not have to reapply and will remain under consideration.

The new advertisements list salary ranges instead of flat amounts, according to the postings under the human resources department “career opportunities” section at $96,000 to $99,500 for the chief solicitor and $90,000 to $99,500 for the operational and administrative services division head positions.

Applications for all three positions are due July 11.

The operational services division head must oversee the physical operation of the county, including all aspects of infrastructure. The division includes the engineering, road/bridge, planning/zoning, 911, emergency management, building/grounds, boiler plant and solid waste departments.

The administrative services division head oversees eight departments: elections, human resources, purchasing/acquisition, information technology, GIS/mapping, licensing/permits, community development and tourism.

The chief solicitor oversees county government legal representation and conflict counsel attorneys.

In total, the county has eight division heads under its home rule charter, with the others overseeing budget/finance, human services, correctional services, judicial services and records and the public defender’s office.

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