New warden excited to join Somerset County community

November 14, 2018

The new Somerset County Jail warden said finding a community for his family inspired him to move more than 1,300 miles.

Michael Porter, of Burleson, Texas, was officially named the new warden after Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.

Porter said that when he saw the advertisement for the position, he researched Somerset County and felt it was a good place to raise his family. The 39-year-old said he has worked in corrections for the past 20 years at a variety of facilities from smaller county jails to state facilities to federal facilities in Florida, Texas and Ohio. He was doing consulting work prior to taking the job at the Somerset County Jail.

“I saw this as an opportunity,” he said. “And it’s not about the money. It is about being happy and a place to grow your family.”

Porter said the Somerset area is also attractive because it is centrally located.

“All around it seemed like a good fit to continue and how I wanted to finish my career,” he said.

Porter said his main concern is the safety of correctional officers and the public.

“Making sure they have what they are supposed to have,” he said. “It all falls back to making sure they have what they are supposed to have.”

Porter said he is looking forward to learning more about the Somerset facility.

“Corrections is an ever-changing environment,” he said. “There are some new laws and some new ways to do things. Everybody has ideas or things that need changing.”

Porter said he is looking forward to working with the staff and becoming part of the community. He plans to raise his family in Shanksville.

“This is it — I’m going to be here for the next 20 years,” he said. “It is all about the community.”

Porter will make $55,000 annually. He replaces Warden Greg Briggs, who left last month to take an associate warden job in Dauphin County.

In other business the commissioners:

• Paid $887,241 in bills.

• Accepted a $77,872 grant for purchasing new voting equipment.

• Ratified a $50,000 grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies for Sept. 11 trail construction.

• Approved the following personnel actions:

Resignations/separations from employment:

County 911: William Carnell, of Johnstown, communications officer, effective Nov. 7.

Information technology: Austin Nider, of Johnstown, system analyst/programmer, effective Nov. 16.

Maintenance department: Danny Gindlesperger, of Berlin, director, effective Dec. 28.

New employees:

Tax assessment: Stephanie Crum, of Jerome, clerk, $19,500, effective Nov. 14.

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