Pike County Commissioners kick off New Year with three-in-one meeting

Milford. Caceres, Schmalzle, and Osterberg were each appointed to various community and government committees.

| 03 Jan 2024 | 01:11

The Pike County Commissioners’ meeting on January 2 was actually conflated to be three meetings in one: the first of the year’s reorganization meeting, the regular commissioners’ meeting, and the election board meeting.

It was also a meeting of firsts, with the newly elected Commissioner Christa Caceres, who although she comes from an extensive background of public service to the county and beyond, represents the first woman and the first African American woman to be elected as a Pike County Commissioner. The landscape at the table has changed. Actually, it was a moment of pride for Caceres who had just been sworn in as commissioner before the meeting. Her husband, son, and mother attended the swearing-in, as well as the commissioners’ meeting. Her husband even took a photo of her name plate (“Christa Caceres, Commissioner”) at the table just before the meeting started.

As for Caceres herself, she said, “I look forward to working with the two commissioners. This is a year of learning for me, listening and learning.”

The reorganization part of the meeting consisted of 39 motions reflecting appointments and reappointments in a rapid-fire reading aloud of each motion. Commissioner Osterberg would read a motion, then Commissioner Schmalzle would immediately say, “motion,” followed in rapid succession by Commissioner Caceres’ “second.”

It took on a syncopated rhythm of its own sounding like a metronome or a tap dance.

Some of the motions were as follows:

- To appoint Commissioner Osterberg as chairman, and Commissioner Schmalzle as vice chairman of the Pike County Board of Commissioners for four years.

- To execute the contract between Thomas Farley and Pike County for services as solicitor for a one-year term. Another motion was to execute the contract between Stacey Beecher and the county for services as an assistant solicitor for one year. And another motion appointed Jason Ohliger as an assistant solicitor for one year. Additionally, Eric L. Hamill was appointed as conflicts council for the public defender’s office for one year.

- To appoint Commissioner Osterberg to the following boards for a four-year term: Economic Development Authority, Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance (NEPA), and the Penn State Cooperative, among others.

- To appoint Commissioner Schmalzle to the following boards for a four-year term: Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District, Planning Commission, and as a representative to the Pocono Mountain Visitor Bureau, among others.

- To appoint Commissioner Caceres to the following boards for a four-year term: Area Agency on Aging, Carbon/Monroe/Pike Mental Health and Development Services Advisory Board, and the Children & Youth Advisory Board, among others.

At the conclusion of the 39 motions, there was a motion to reconvene the commissioners’ meeting, at which new business was discussed and additional motions were made such as executing the agreement between Matamoras Fire Department and Pike County on behalf of the Area Agency on Aging, and executing the lease agreement between Lackawaxen Township Volunteer Fire Department and Pike County on behalf of the Area Agency on Aging. For more specifics on some of these motions, the Commissioners meetings are lived streamed on You Tube at youtube.com/@PikeCountyPA/streams.

The third part of this meeting was about the Pike County Board of Elections. Commissioner Schmalzle was appointed chair of the 2024 Board of Elections, with Commissioner Osterberg appointed as vice-chair.

The next regular commissioners’ meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 17, at 11 a.m. in the Pike County Administration building. It will also be live streamed on their YouTube channel.