County moves to reinforce departments with departed leaders

David Weissman
  • Longtime York Co. administrators at the prison, nursing home and emergency services department retired.
  • County appoints retired deputy warden as interim warden while search begins for permanent warden.
  • Contracts approved to help Pleasant Acres cut costs and emergency services upgrade 911 system.

Three top York County administrators announced their retirements recently, and the county commissioners made various moves Wednesday to help cover those vacancies.

In this file photo, York County commissioners, from left, Chris Reilly, Susan Byrnes and Doug Hoke hold their weekly meeting at William Penn Senior High School in York City, Wednesday, April 20, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Marlin Peck, administrator of Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; Eric Bistline, executive director of the county's emergency services department; and prison Warden Mary Sabol  retired in the past two months after serving in those roles for 13, 12 and eight years, respectively.

Prison: Before the commissioner's meeting, the York County Prison Board unanimously voted to appoint Dennis Bowen as interim warden, effective Feb. 6.

Bowen, 68, served  15 years as deputy warden at York County Prison before retiring in 2008, according to his resume. He  lives in Virginia.

Dennis Bowen, interim warden at York County Prison

Commissioner Doug Hoke, who serves as president of the prison's board, said Bowen is not interested in becoming the full-time warden, and the opening was posted on the county's website as of Tuesday.

Bowen will be paid about $4,350 semi-monthly, which is the same salary  Sabol received, according to county controller Robb Green. Sabol's last day was Jan. 20, and she has moved into a role as director of corrections for Lehigh County.

Pleasant Acres Nursing Home is shown in York on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (Dawn J. Sagert - The York Dispatch)

Pleasant Acres: During their regular meeting, commissioners approved contracts with companies that will help oversee duties at Pleasant Acres and the emergency services department.

The commissioners first approved a three-year contract with Complete Healthcare Resources, based out of Montgomery County, to provide consulting support services to Pleasant Acres.

County administrator Mark Derr said the company will help the nursing home implement some of the changes proposed in a recent report that suggested more than $3 million in cost-saving measures.

Report suggests major savings at county nursing home

Pleasant Acres is expected to need more than $8 million in county subsidies to operate in 2017, which is one of the main reasons for a rise in property taxes, and commissioners have had ongoing discussions about how to reduce that figure.

Commissioner Chris Reilly has said he will not vote to raise taxes again unless the county sells the nursing home or its deficit is eliminated.

The county will pay Complete Healthcare $24,000 per month for the first year, beginning Feb. 13, and that figure is expected to rise slightly during years two and three.

Tammy Hetrick, Pleasant Acres' chief financial officer, has been serving as acting administrator since Peck's retirement in mid-December.

Eric Bistline, the executive director for York County Emergency Services, will be retiring from his position at the end of January.

Emergency services: The commissioners also approved a contract Wednesday with York-based Business Information Group  to assist with the completion of the emergency services department's 911 radio system upgrade project.

The county is in the process of upgrading its 911 system to a new, federally mandated system. The federal mandate came shortly after the county had just upgraded its radio system, leaving the county with millions of dollars of debt.

Commissioners approved borrowing up to $32 million in October for bonds that will mostly go toward paying costs for the new and old systems.

Derr said Bistline's retirement, which went into effect Tuesday, left a void in expertise to oversee the completion of the upgrade, and BIG has expertise in wide-area networks.

The  contract approved payment up to $50,000 to the company, and Derr said the project is expected to be complete by November, but hopefully sooner.

The emergency services department includes emergency management and 911, and commissioners will meet with the directors of those two groups soon to determine the next step in replacing Bistline, according to county spokesman Mark Walters.

Walters said it is possible officials could discuss not filling the position at all.

— Reach David Weissman at or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.