New Northumberland County Commissioners Take Office

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SUNBURY -- After four years of fighting in Northumberland County, the new board of commissioners says communication is a priority. With big issues to tackle, like the Northumberland County Prison and row officers' salaries, the commissioners say they need to work together.

With their hands on a bible, new Northumberland County Commissioners Kymberly Best and Sam Schiccatano and incumbent Rick Shoch were sworn into office.

The previous board of commissioners had a reputation for fighting all the time.

"Everybody who looks at what happened in the last four years knows that that's not what we want for the future. But the reality is that our past is going to confront us every day," Commissioner Shoch said.

"I hope we can change the atmosphere. The more help we get from our elected officials, from the county employees and from our citizens, I think the better off Northumberland County is going to be," Commissioner Schiccatano said.

The new board plans to meet daily to discuss issues.

"I think deliberation and differences of opinions will bring about the best resolution and like I said in my speech, while we all don't get along, what we do believe in is working together to move Northumberland County forward," Commissioner Best said.

Some taxpayers we spoke with have high hopes for the new board.

"I think if they're getting along with each other, the citizens have a better shot of getting the citizens' business done," Richard Vanslavie said.

While others aren't so sure.

"I don't see any improvement in it and I hope Kymberly Best can get it straightened out," Shirley Stamm said.

Perhaps the biggest issue facing commissioners is the Northumberland County Prison, which was heavily damaged by fire about one year ago.

Last month, ground was broken for a new prison at the former Celotex site in Sunbury. About $1 million in taxpayer money has already been spent on the project, but the project may be put on hold.

"We may want to make some changes in the direction of this thing that may or may not mean that it's still at that site. It may be at that site but it may look a little different," Shoch said.

The first commissioners meeting with the new board is Tuesday, and the topic of the prison is expected to come up. Construction may be put on hold after a vote at that meeting.