KITTANNING – In her first weeks in office, Armstrong County’s newly elected district attorney is already making changes to improve the way the office operates.

District Attorney Katie Charlton, who previously served as an assistant DA under longtime District Attorney Scott Andreassi, asked the county’s salary board last week to consider replacing part-time assistant positions with a full-time assistant DA.

“I think that is the right thing for the county at this time,” Charlton last week told the salary board, which consists of commissioners Pat Fabian, Jason Renshaw and George Skamai, and controller Myra Miller.

Charlton explained that she looked at the DA offices in other sixth class counties similar to Armstrong, and found that only one other did not have a full-time assistant DA. She said that having someone on board all the time would help significantly with case management by keeping the same attorney working on cases from start to finish.

She also noted that the move would replace two part-time assistant positions, actually saving the county money. Fabian said the savings would be around $8,500 per year.

The office would be restructured to include the full-time assistant, and two other part-timers.

“We will have a consistency in the office,” she said.

After approving the creation of the new full-time position, the salary board went with Charlton’s recommendation to hire attorney Rebecca Lozzi for the position, with a starting salary of $56,000 per year.

Charlton said Lozzi has 19 years of experience as an attorney, serving for a time as a public defender in Butler County.

“I think she would be a fantastic addition,” Charlton said.

The salary board also took up the issue of on-call overtime for the county jail’s non-union employees.

During a discussion, the salary board made changes to a recommendation about on-call guidelines from the county’s prison board.

Salary board members said they did not favor including jail administrators or the jail’s counselor, only nurses and maintenance employees.

Rather than approving the guidelines with their changes, the salary board opted to send the changes back to the prison board for approval first.

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