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Robert G. Loughery Appointed Chairman Of The Board Of Commissioners For The Sixth Time In Seven Years

January 4, 2018

The Board of Bucks County Commissioners reorganized on the morning of January 3, 2018, the first public meeting of the calendar year in the Administration Building Commissioners’ Meeting Room. During that session, Commissioner Robert G. Loughery was nominated to serve as chair for 2018 by 2017 Chairman Charles H. Martin and met unanimous approval from Commissioner Martin and Commissioner Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, LCSW. Commissioner Loughery previously served as chair from 2012-2016.

“Thank you for chairing what was an eventful year in 2017,” Chairman Loughery told Commissioner Martin, who has served 11 one-year terms as chair of the board during his nearly 23 years as a member. Commissioner Martin will serve as vice chair for 2018.

After re-assuming the gavel, Chairman Loughery quickly navigated a list of 14 contract resolutions involving six County departments. The agenda was one of the smallest under consideration in recent months. Four of those agreements involved the Children & Youth Social Services Agency, including a two-year, $860,000 contract renewal with Neighborhood First Program, Inc. of Bristol to provide mentoring and monitoring for youth and juvenile offenders. The board also approved a one-year, $650,000 contract renewal with Doylestown’s Youth Services Agency to provide counseling and residential treatment services for adolescents.

One of the clear highlights of the scaled down agenda was a five-year, $3.902 million Health Department contract increase and amendment with PrimeCare Medical, Inc. of Harrisburg to add inmate mental health services at the Bucks County Corrections facilities. According to Dr. David Damsker, the contract is significant because PrimeCare already handled medical treatment at the minimum and maximum security facilities and the agreement brings all aspects of the treatment under one provider.

The board also approved five contracts for the Mental Health/Developmental Programs office, including a one-year, $2.786 million contract renewal with Sellersville’s Penn Foundation, Inc. to provide various services to individuals with a mental health diagnosis. In addition, the commissioners agreed to a one-year, $309,282 contract renewal with Souderton’s Indian Creek Foundation, Inc. to provide residential services.

The meeting opened with Commissioner Martin reading a proclamation recognizing January 11, 2018 as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” throughout the County of Bucks. The proclamation was presented to representatives of the Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA) and the District Attorney’s office to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the County Task Force. It is estimated that more than 24 million individuals worldwide are victims of human trafficking situations annually.

During his Chief Operating Officer Report, Brian Hessenthaler noted that County officials are monitoring a pair of winter storms for their potential impact on business. He also praised outgoing 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Director Audrey Kenny for her service to the County over the last several years. “She was the driver behind the ‘Narrowbanding’ project, which came in under budget (back in 2015),” Mr. Hessenthaler said. Ms. Kenny will be moving to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) to lend her expertise to that organization. “Audrey did a fantastic job for the County,” Commissioner Martin added. “Filling her shoes will be difficult.” Chairman Loughery added his kind words for Ms. Kenny’s exemplary service to the residents and first responders of Bucks County.

The meeting was also the first Commissioners’ business session for two newly inaugurated County “row” officers, including Recorder of Deeds Robin Robinson and Controller Neale Dougherty.

The next meeting of the Board of Bucks County Commissioners will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 17, 2018, in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room of the Bucks County Administration Building (1st Floor), 55 E. Court St., Doylestown, PA 18901. For a complete audio account of the January 3, 2018 business meeting, please visit the official county website, www.BucksCounty.org, and click on the “Audio from Last Mtg” link on the home page.