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READING, Pa. - At Thursday's meeting of the Berks County commissioners, Commissioner Kevin S. Barnhardt said the county "is in dire need of poll workers" for the general election on November 5 and asked the public for help. The position pays $110 for the day and a training class is available.

The county needs 1,200 people to cover 200 precincts. Republican poll workers are needed in Reading precincts, while Democrat workers are needed at county precincts.

Anyone interested in working the polls can contact the county's board of elections by calling 610-478-6490. 

Next month's election will be the first in which Berks voters will cast their ballots on the county's new voting machines.

The polls will be open on November 5 from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Other business

Diane Price, chair of the Armed Forces Advisory Committee, presented certificates of appreciation to the commissioners, the sheriff's office, and the veterans affairs department for the county's support of this year's Armed Forces Day parade.

Price noted that next year's parade will be held Saturday, May 10, 2020, and will recognize the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

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Later in the meeting, Wyomissing resident Jane Palmer excoriated the commissioners "for bringing trauma and shame to our community" by their support of the Berks Family Residential Center in Bern Township, where a British family that crossed the U.S. border from Canada had been held. The family was deported to the United Kingdom on Wednesday.

Palmer described the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency as "a rogue agency with racist, white supremacist policies." She implored the commissioners to terminate the county's contract with ICE and "turn your back on violent government."

The commissioners had no comment.

Barnhardt announced in July his support for terminating the county's contract with ICE.

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The commissioners authorized 2019 budget transfers in the amount of $405,205 for janitorial supplies and professional fees, and 2019 appropriations in the amount of $2,952,000 for telecommunications equipment.

Also, the commissioners authorized Christian Y. Leinbach, the board chair, to execute the facility credentialing and recredentialing application for United Healthcare for the Berks Heim Nursing and Rehabilitation center.

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In personnel matters, the commissioners reappointed Laura L. Feick, Reading, to the Berks County Board of Assessment Appeals for a four-year term, expiring December 31, 2023; reappointed Glenn Knoblauch, Wernersville, to the Berks County Planning Commission board for a four-year term, expiring December 1, 20123; reappointed Jodi Gauker, Fleetwood, to the Berks County Planning Commission board for a four-year term, expiring December 31, 2023; and reappointed Renee Dietrich, Wyomissing, to the Reading Public Library board of trustees for a five-year term, expiring December 31, 2024.

In addition, the commissioners appointed William C. Dorward, Kutztown, business agent for Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 19, to the Berks County Workforce Development Board for a replacement term beginning November 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2022.

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