Wednesday, January 16, 2008

County Commissioners Get an Earful from Friends of Fired Naturalist

When the County Commissioners entered the Courthouse to conduct their weekly meeting, Wednesday morning, they found a packed room.

Some 30 County residents, many of them children, came out in support of a Lancaster County Parks Naturalist they say was unfairly terminated on December 21 of last year.

"I know her to be an intelligent, inspiring, dedicated member of Lancaster's park community. She is an asset that is simply too valuable to lose," said Linda Timberlake of Lancaster Township. "We're asking you to join us and reinstate Lisa Sanchez," she continued.

Commissioner Chair Dennis Stuckey replied to the group, "I would like to thank you all for coming out. I can grasp the passion with which you speak and I thank you for understanding that this is a personnel issue and we really can't comment on it."

The rumor with Ms. Sanchez's friends and supporters is that she was fired over a dispute she had with her boss, Lancaster County Parks director James Hackett, over the use of a classroom at the Lancaster County Environmental Center.

Other actions approved by the Commissioners at the meeting include the renewal of a contract between the Lancaster County Prison and Support for Prison Ministries of Lititz, Pennsylvania, to provide chaplain services at the Prison, and approval of a series of contacts between the County Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation and various providers of those services.

Director of Business for the Lancaster County Prison assured the Commissioners and those present that chaplaincy services are available to persons of any religious denomination and that participation is strictly voluntary.

It was also announced by the Commissioners that a special meeting will be held on January 31 at 7pm at the Farm & Home Center for the purpose of discussing the Sunshine Act. According to Commission Chair Dennis Stuckey, Doug Hill, the Executive Director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, and Terry Henney of the Pennsylvania Newspapers association will make themselves available to answer questions from the public about the Sunshine Act.