Staff shortages raise concerns in Clarion County

Staffing is “getting tight” for two key Clarion County entities, the sheriff’s department and ambulance services.

Sheriff Shawn Zerfoss said at Tuesday’s Clarion County commissioners meeting he lost one deputy who has been accepted at the state police academy. And a clerk in the office accepted a position with a state prison.

“Things are a little tight,” said Zerfoss. “We hired a new deputy and had to throw him into the fire with a trip to Butler to transport a prisoner.”

Zerfoss said he recently returned from a trip to Oklahoma to extradite a prisoner.

“I had to take a deputy along with me because we had to stay overnight,” he said. The prisoner was lodged overnight in a jail in Indiana.

The prisoner is accused of theft, Zerfoss said.

Meanwhile, the ambulance service staffing is “getting worse”, according to county commissioner Ed Heasley.

Heasley noted Clarion Hospital scheduled an EMT training class but only had seven applications. The minimum number to conduct the class was 15.

“We are way past the critical point now,” said Heasley. He said Southern Clarion County ambulance service has trouble getting crews and as a result has reduced service.

Heasley said there is a bill in Harrisburg that may increase the reimbursement for ambulances from Medicare. The commissioners sent a letter of support for House Bill 2434.

In other business at Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Megan Kerr, director of the county’s Tax Claim Bureau, said there would be a delinquent tax sale Sept. 19 at her office in the courthouse.

Kerr said she has 300 properties listed currently but expects to have the taxes paid on most of the properties prior to the sale.

“We will probably have 20 to 30 properties at the sale,” she said.

The county sold six surplus vehicles. A 2013 Ford E450 brought the most money at $1,440.

A 2010 Ford Crown Victoria did not receive a bid.