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Cooperative Extension office composition changing

October 4, 2011

Photo by Joseph Bell - Tom Wagner, right, solicitor for Elk County, discusses legal matters Tuesday alongside Elk County Commissioner Daniel R. Freeburg.

A string of layoffs at the Penn State Cooperative Extension office have had officials revamping the program.
"We went through a series of layoffs, so with those layoffs that requires some changes," said Don Tanner, an official from the Penn State Cooperative Extension office who on Tuesday attended an Elk County Board of Commissioners meeting. "Among those changes includes Elk County, and several individuals were let go-- we let go of 20-plus field staff in September and more reductions will be coming shortly."
Reorganizing from a geographical standpoint, Cameron, Elk, Jefferson, McKean and Potter counties will now comprise the third district.
"I've met with officials in the various counties over the last few weeks," Tanner said. "One of the good things that we have is a good working relationship with Elk County [officials] and this isn't really new, it's just new for the administrative and management side of it."
Budget cuts across the board have forced officials to make difficult reductions in various departments.
"One of them is financial management and Robin Kuleck was our financial management guru here for us-- she was just let go because we just aren't able to commit dollars to that area at this time," Tanner said. "Down the road, if that money comes back, maybe we'll reconsider it but right now, we have to give up some of those items."
Less emphasis will be placed on emergency preparedness as well.
"In the past 10 or 15 years, we've done a lot of work with that and we're not going to spend so much time in that, but I want to reconfirm that if there is a disaster of any nature to our region or the state of Pennsylvania that affects us, Penn State Extension will be at the table helping," Tanner said.
Workforce development and adult leadership also fell under the ax.

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