TOWANDA - Although Mike Lovegreen retired this month after 33 years as manager of the Bradford County Conservation District, he will continue to work for the agency for years to come on an as-needed basis on special projects.

At its most recent meeting, the Bradford County Salary Board created a new part-time, casual position at the Bradford County Conservation District called "operations specialist," and appointed Lovegreen to the position.

As operations specialist, Lovegreen will provide guidance and training on a temporary basis to the new manager of the conservation district, Cathy Yeakel, the Bradford County commissioners said.

Yeakel "is a terrific hire, but I think she is going to need some seat time with Mike" before she can take on the position on her own, said Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko said.

Now that Lovegreen has been appointed as operations specialist, the conservation district will be able to call him back in to work on special projects, as he has lot of expertise in his field, said Jim VanBlarcom, a member of the conservation district's board of directors.

For example, the conservation district would be able to use him to set up parts of the county's new pilot program for stream maintenance, and to provide instruction to those participating in the program, Lovegreen said.

In addition, Lovegreen said he will be able to continue to represent the conservation district on committees and organizations that the conservation district is a member of until, over the years, other personnel from the conservation district take over those positions.

"Mike has a world of experience and knowledge that he will be able to utilize" as operations specialist, Bradford County Commissioner Daryl Miller said. In addition, Lovegreen has contacts around the state and nation that will benefit the district, he said.

Under Lovegreen, the Bradford County Conservation District has become "a model for conservation districts around the state," Miller said.

Lovegreen receives "unbelievable respect" from people associated with many organizations in his field, McLinko said.

Lovegreen was a "very effective manager" at the conservation district, VanBlarcom said.

"I still feel very strongly about the Conservation District and its future, and anything I can do to help them, I will be available to do that," Lovegreen said.

Lovegreen's appointment as operations specialist is effective Oct. 1. As operations specialist, he will work less than 1,000 hours per year.

Lovegreen said his position will not be funded by the county.

Instead, he will be paid with funds that the conservation district receives from various sources, such as state and federal grants, and funding from foundations, Lovegreen said. As operations specialist, Lovegreen will help to secure much of that funding, Miller said.

As operations specialist, Lovegreen will be paid $27.77 per hour.

The permanent members of the Bradford County Salary Board are the three Bradford County commissioners and Bradford County Treasurer Becky Clark.

The salary board meets during a section of the Bradford County commissioners' bi-weekly meetings.

Commissioners

At the most recent meeting of the Bradford County commissioners, bids were opened for the replacement of the windows in the Bradford County Courthouse's annex, which houses the county's elections office, human resources department, and information technology (IT) department.

The three bids that were submitted were: $22,501, Mountain Lake Construction of Towanda; $28,250, Middendorf Contracting, Towanda; and $54,800, View-Tech, East Syracuse, N.Y.

The low bid was far below the estimated cost of the project, said Kim Corbett, maintenance director for the county. He said he thought the estimated cost for the replacement project was approximately $35,000.

Replacing the windows, which are old, is a safety issue, as they are large and heavy and would be difficult for a woman to lift in a fire or other emergency, Corbett has said. Replacing the windows is also expected to make the building more energy efficient.

The commissioners postponed taking action on the bids until they could be reviewed.

The commissioners also accepted Dycon Construction Northeast LLC's $137,700 bid to rehabilitate County Bridge 34, which carries McClelland Road over Bullard Creek in Rome Township.

Dycon, which is based in Pine City, N.Y., had submitted the lowest of three bids to do the bridge work.

The bridge, a single-lane span on a dead-end road, allows motorists to reach only two residences, Corbett said.

However, the bridge has deteriorated over the years to the point where, under the bridge's current posted weight limit, fire trucks, garbage trucks, and larger snowplows cannot legally cross the bridge, he said.

Once the bridge is repaired, those vehicles will be able to cross the bridge, he said.

The commissioners said they plan to use state liquid fuels funds to pay for the rehabilitation of the bridge.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.