WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) —The search for a new Luzerne County manager is on the fast track, says county council members.

The council must appoint a manager to replace Randy Roberston, who resigned recently, saying family medical issues are the main reason he’s stepping down.

Council members say there is too much at stake for residents, and a new manager must be in place sooner rather than later.

The County Council members Eyewitness News spoke with say there is no time to waste. They do not want this process to drag on as it has in the past.

“The bittersweet part to is there’s a lot to be done a tremendous amount to be done. We just started to peel back the onion a little bit,” said Robertson.

Robertson said this to Eyewitness News last Friday, his last day on the job. Now, the County Council, for the second time in less than a year, has to find a replacement. Council member Tim McGinley says he and his colleagues do not want to waste any time.

“I hope that we have the search committee in place, all the members by at least the end of the year, and I hope that we recommend to them recommend some time of timetable deadline so that we can move along. I’m hopeful sometime in February they will come back to council with their recommendations,” said council member Tim McGinley.

The council decided to have a three-member citizen search committee to make those recommendations, but the candidate must have the correct qualifications.

“Merits obviously are important. Somebody who has managerial skills, that’s critical, but I really would like to see somebody that has some kind of ties to Luzerne County. Not be residents right now, but have ties, family lived here before. They’ve gone to school here, maybe, somebody that has some kind of ties so they understand the area,” explained McGinley.

County Council Vice-Chair John Lombardo also wants this process on the fast track.

“We are hoping to see this drawn out in the next three months. That’s my personal timeline. I don’t want us to go without a county manager for about a year like we previously had,” stated Lombardo.

As for the candidate’s credentials?

“So I certainly want to see somebody that’s merit-based in the role. But I do want them to have local ties. We need somebody who understands Luzerne County, understands the people, the economics, and the history,” explained Lombardo.

Other council members Eyewitness News spoke with say they too do not want this to drag out. They point to issues that the county has to deal with, of course, the budget process, the future of the Luzerne County Prison, and ongoing questions surrounding the state of the Election Bureau and Children and Youth Services.