News Column

HCA names former board member to management post

June 6, 2014

By Sam Galski, Standard-Speaker, Hazleton, Pa.

June 06--Hazleton City Authority directors appointed a longtime board member to a $52,000 management position that will oversee regulatory compliance, record keeping, budgetary procedures and other duties.

Authority board members recently cast a 5-0 vote when appointing 20-year HCA board member Richard Ammon to an administrative manager/compliance officer position. He will receive a $52,000 annual salary that increases to $54,000 after six months and a benefits package that includes a retirement plan, medical benefits, life insurance and other perks.

Executive Director Randy Cahalan asked the board to consider creating the position in April and board members selected Ammon over 11 other applicants. Before taking on the position with the authority, Ammon worked for the Luzerne County Workforce Investment Development Agency, where he served for seven years as manager, four years as executive director and six years as human resource manager. He has two-years experience as PA CareerLink site administrator.

While with the county, Ammon oversaw payroll, accounts payable/recievable operations for 14 state programs, supervised more than 100 staff members and worked with a $12 million budget, according to his resume.

Ammon believes the two decades he spent serving on the authority board of directors -- and his familiarity with its staff and operations -- will benefit the HCA and its customers.

"I appreciate the opportunity they gave me," Ammon said of the authority board. "I had 20-years experience on the authority board. I knew everyone and know the operations. There's a lot of good people and I'm just happy to be working here."

Ammon referenced his experience serving HCA's water department in his resume.

"I have accumulated a great deal of knowledge in water treatment plant operation, water treatment supply, water distribution, water department budgeting, water department billing, and water department personnel," he wrote. "During these 20 years of HCA service, I (have) been able to play an important role in millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades. I have experience working with both the old and new versions of HCA billing systems."

Authority board Chairman John Keegan said the authority board has changed hiring practices and gives management the responsibility of recommending hires.

"Sometimes, when it's political, the best person doesn't get picked," Keegan said. "We feel that management will want to pick the best person because they have to work with them every day."

Keegan said that Ammon's tenure with the authority board helped Ammon to "rise above" other applicants because of his familiarity with agencies that the authority works with.

When pitching the position to the authority board in April, Cahalan said it would handle responsibilities of a compliance officer and risk manager. The person would also analyze, inspect and oversee operating procedures and practices; develop emergency preparedness plans and develop human resources and safety procedure manuals.

Over his first few days on the job, Ammon has been preparing reports the authority must submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority and the Delaware and Susquehanna river basins.

Benefits include a retirement plan similar to a 401(k) with up to 3 percent matching funds; a health insurance copay equal to 10 percent of the annual cost of insurance; life insurance, vacation time that begins at two weeks in 2015 and increases to four weeks for 11 years of services; 12 sick days per year effective Jan. 1 of each year (six days will be awarded this year); short-term disability equal to two-thirds of salary for a term of six months; 10 paid holidays per year and HCA group plans for major medical, dental and vision.

The salary was developed through HCA's study of pay structures that are used by comparable entities, Keegan said.

"The salary was arrived at before he was picked," Keegan said.

Ammon was appointed to the post about two weeks ago.


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Source: Standard-Speaker (Hazleton, PA)

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