Changes of Guard in Commissioner’s Office Underway
By Rick Hiduk
It was announced at the July 7 Bradford County Commissioners’ meeting that current commissioner’s secretary Michelle Shedden will step into the position of chief county clerk after Gayle Kerschner retires from the commissioners’ office on Aug. 19, after 30 years of service to Bradford County.
Kerschner, of Towanda, started her career at the courthouse in July 1981 as the commissioners’ secretary. She related that she will miss the employees with whom she has worked most closely through the years.
“I’ve enjoyed every one of them, and I’ve learned a lot from them,” Kerschner stated. “I’m certainly going to miss this. It’s been like a big family.”
“Gayle is a dedicated employee who will be sorely missed,” stated commissioner John Sullivan. “She is well-respected by her fellow employees, as well as by her peers around the state.”
“Gayle has been an integral part of conducting the county’s business,” fellow commissioner Mark Smith concurred. “She is a great friend and a great employee, and I will miss her.”
“She has been a wonderful asset to our county, as well as a fine person,” commissioner Doug McLinko noted of Kerschner. He also cited the high work ethics of Shedden, who, he indicated, has been grooming herself for Kerschner’s job. “She gets up and works on the family farm, and has found the time to take courses to prepare herself for the chief clerk position,” McLinko wrote in an email.
“Michelle has proven to be extremely capable and dedicated,” Smith remarked. Shedden’s transition to the chief clerk position will be “fairly seamless,” he added, as Shedden and Kerschner have been working together for about 10 years.
“I think that she will be a big asset to this office,” said Kerschner, who looks forward to having more time to pursue personal interests, which includes spending time at her winter home in Edgewater, FL.
Shedden, who started with the office in 2000 as a clerk typist, looks forward to becoming more directly involved with department heads in county government, as well as taking on the duties of secretary of retirement for county employees.
Shedden, who resides in Canton, will get a break from one of the more daunting tasks previously assigned to chief clerk when her current position is restructured and filled by a suitable applicant.
In recent years, Kerschner was charged with responding to every request from residents and businesses for information filed by the county under the state’s open records laws.
According to Smith, the commissioners scrutinized the quantity and quality of workload assumed by both the secretary to the commissioners and the chief county clerk and reclassified the former position to a pay grade that they felt would attract another qualified professional to assume the new position of administrative assistant to the commissioners. The new position, for which interviews have not yet been conducted, will include responding to and fulfilling requests for information, which, according to Kerschner, has to be completed within five days.
“It will take some of the load off Michelle,” McLinko noted of the restructuring. He explained that Shedden will have her hands full with scheduling alone, a task that Shedden said has been made easier by technical advances implemented by the office since she began working at the courthouse. Shedden, who will officially assume her new post on Monday, Aug. 22, conceded that she will miss working on the county’s website and working on newsletters, both of which will be taken on by the yet to be announced administrative assistant.