Commissioners name Durkin Health & Human Services Interim Director

Lackawanna County Commissioners Appoint Barbara Durkin As Interim Director For The Department of Health & Human Services & Hire Former Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Human Services Beverly Mackereth As A Consultant

Lackawanna County Commissioners Bill Gaughan, Matt McGloin and Chris Chermak have appointed Barbara Durkin as Interim Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Barbara resides in Nicholson and has been the Director of the Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol since 2018. 

Barbara will serve as Interim Director while the Commissioners conduct a statewide search for a Director of Health and Human Services and a Director for the Office of Youth and Family Services.

As Director of Drug & Alcohol Programs, Barbara oversees an operation that is the Single County Authority for substance use disorders for both areas.  Her responsibilities include: coordinating, planning, implementing, and monitoring the substance use disorder prevention, intervention, and treatment system for the publicly funded clients in the two Counties. 
Ms. Durkin previously served as Treatment Court Coordinator for the Lackawanna County Treatment Court. 

Aside from her work locally, Barbara also has national experience as a Senior Policy Analyst for the National Association of State Alcohol & Drug Abuse Directors.  With this organization, she worked to promote the goals of all State substance authorities, was involved in criminal justice issues and appropriations, and supervised interns. 

She is a Board Member of the Northeast Behavioral Health Care Consortium (NBHCC), Center for Health & Human Services Research & Action (CHHRSA) and the Treatment Court Advocacy Center (TCAC).                  

The Commissioners are also planning to hire former Pennsylvania Secretary of the Department of Human Services Beverly D. Mackereth of Mackereth Consulting to examine the policies, procedures, and administration of the Office of Youth and Family Services.  Beverley is the leading authority in Pennsylvania for health and human services.  A resident of York, PA, she possesses volumes of state and local human services experience.

She served as the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Deputy Secretary of the Office of Children, Youth & Families.  A former State Representative in the 196th Legislative District, Ms. Mackereth ran the: York County Human Services Department; Healthy York County Coalition; Governor’s Community Partnership for Safe Children; and Special Programs for the York County District Attorney, to mention a cross section of her experience. 

Ms. Mackereth has shared her insights by serving on a multitude of County and State children, school, youth, seniors, non-profit and United Way Boards and committees. 

Beverly also worked on the transition teams of Governor Tom Corbett and Governor Josh Shapiro in the area of Health & Human Services. 

A graduate of Frostburg State University, she has also served as a lecturer and teacher at several universities and law schools.              

“In order to change the culture of this department, we felt it was vital to bring in people with a vast amount of experience.  Both Barbara Durkin and Beverly Mackereth bring a wealth of knowledge with them and will help us in our goal of turning the department around and charting a new course,” said Commissioner Bill Gaughan.  “Barbara has done an outstanding job leading the Drug & Alcohol Office and previously with the Drug Treatment Court.  Beverly’s experience as Pennsylvania Secretary of Human Services will provide us with expert insights and direction on how to better train and retain staff, along with instituting new safeguards for children and families.  During this time of transition, we are also focused on conducting a statewide search for the very best and brightest people to lead both the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of Youth and Family Services.”

“Our priority was to do an overall evaluation of the Office of Youth & Family Services.  Now, we are committed to strengthening the operation and programs the department offers to area children and families.  We must also add staff to accomplish our goal.  We believe that with Beverly’s insights, past experiences and knowledge of the State’s child welfare system, and Barbara’s administrative and leadership skills, we can accomplish this in a reasonable timeframe.  We ask for everyone’s patience while we put the foundation in place and ultimately hire new directors,” explained Commissioner Matt McGloin.  

“At the end of the day, this is about serving children and families.  A fresh approach with new ideas will certainly help to achieve our goal. It is also imperative that we recruit and retain staff so as to not overtax what we have.  I believe Barbara will do an outstanding job for us in leading the department.  Beverly’s knowledge of the system will certainly enable us to chart a course that serves everyone well,” noted Commissioner Chris Chermak.