McCarthy said his strengths include 12 years as a county commissioner, a position Muller never held. Because of all that county experience, McCarthy said his learning curve for the new position “isn’t going to be as steep.”

McCarthy said he also has up to 40 years of experience as an administrator of law firms, where he’s dealt with both personnel and financial issues.

Reichard withdraws

After the commissioners meeting, Muller said he was “surprised” by Reichard’s decision to withdraw his name from consideration as the county’s fiscal officer.

Muller said he found out about it in an e-mail he received from Reichard Tuesday morning, in which Reichard told him he had talked to his wife about the position and decided he didn’t have enough “fire” to take the full-time position.

“He was worried about the pressure of the job --you read about the battles over the budget and stuff – and I tried to reassure him there was not really any pressure in that particular job,” said Muller.

He said Reichard already was at work in his county office Monday, but did not attend his swearing-in as county executive that day.

“His appointment was tonight and he would have sailed through—no question,” said Muller.

The executive said he already is working on finding another fiscal officer for the county.

Actions on Cedarbrook

Commissioners unanimously approved a professional services agreement with Complete HealthCare Resources-Eastern, Inc., which will do an $18,000 assessment of the county’s two Cedarbrook nursing homes that will take six to eight weeks to complete.

Commissioner Thomas Creighton hopes the assessment will give county officials answers regarding what can be done “to help steer Cedarbrook in the right direction.”

Added Dougherty: “We have a major problem with the Cedarbrook facility and we need expert advice to give us a number of options so we can see which way to go.”

In October, the county had to transfer $3.6 million to Cedarbrook to keep it operating through the end of 2013. The county will be contributing much more to Cedarbrook this year: nearly $6.5 million.

Mazziotti said Complete HealthCare did a very “a very good job” when it conducted a similar study at Gracedale nursing home in Northampton County.

On another Cedarbrook issue, commissioners gratefully accepted a donation of $154,877.50 from the late Joseph R. J. Lesch, which will benefit residents of the Cedarbrook nursing home.

Lesch established the trust in 1998 in recognition of the care his wife had received while she was a resident at Cedarbrook.

“He wanted half of his estate to go to Cedarbrook upon his death,” said Jamie Aurand, Cedarbrook’s administrator.

Aurand said the money will go into an account used for special occasions, parties and entertainment that benefit residents of the nursing home.