BELLEFONTE The Centre County commissioners officially hired a new warden Tuesday, ending a four-month search to fill the position.
Richard Smith, who has more than 35 years experience in corrections, started his new post as county warden Monday. His hiring became official Tuesday morning after a unanimous vote by the commissioners.
Smith succeeds Edward De- Sabato, who retired in March after serving as Centre County warden for more than six years.
(Smith) is a great addition and culminates a long, lengthy process weve gone through to select the next warden to move us into the next five or 10 years, to continue to move the facility forward, said county Administrator Tim Boyde.
A Penn State graduate, Smith has worked in both state and private correctional facilities.
He has previously served as the chief of security fire and safety and then the deputy superintendent for operations with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
After retiring from the state, Smith entered the private sector, serving as vice president of operations at PrimeCare Medical Inc., which he said managed 57 prisons in six states, then as deputy warden at a private federal prison in Georgia.
Most recently, Smith volunteered at a homeless veterans shelter in Coalport, helping with casework services.
He will earn a $72,321.60 salary in his new county role, Boyde said.
Im thrilled to be back home, Smith told the commissioners. I lived here at main campus for awhile. Im very excited to take over this job.
Also at the commissioner meeting, Boyde said the county was not going to discuss specific inmates when asked for an update on Jerry Sanduskys stay in the county jail.
Sandusky is awaiting sentencing after being convicted last month on 45 of 48 counts related to the sexual abuse of 10 children.
County officials said they still dont have a final tally of the countys expenses during the two-week trial. Commissioner Chris Exarchos, however, did say hotel rooms for jurors for two nights cost $1,300.
Boyde said the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts will reimburse the county for some of its expenses.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Steve Dershem said the countys largest cost will likely be overtime for sheriffs deputies who worked the trial.
Matt Carroll can be reached at 231-4631. Follow him on Twitter @Carrollreporter