Public Hearing Held On County Officials’ Salaries

Potter County Today

salarychartA public hearing was held at the F.W. Gunzburger County Office Building Monday night to receive input on the salaries of some county elected officials for the 2012-15 term. State law requires that these be set by the Board of Commissioners before Dec. 31 of this year, since the election for these offices is in 2011. No action was taken at Monday’s meeting. A second public session will be scheduled in the coming weeks, at which time more input will be accepted and the salary schedule will be adopted

At issue are these elected officials’ salaries, shown with the compensation which has already been approved by the former board of commissioners for 2011) Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts $50.494; Sheriff/Jail Warden $50,494; Register of Wills/Recorder of Deeds $50,494; Treasurer $44,183; Commissioners (3) $44,183; Auditors (3) $142/day for a partial year of service.

The commissioners said that prior to taking any action on the 2012-15 salary schedule, they will research two issues:

  • Why has the gap continued to widen between the salaries of the commissioners and treasurer, and those of the prothonotary/clerk of courts, register/recorder and sheriff/warden?
  • Are the commissioners permitted by law to approve a lower percentage of salary increase for the three higher-paid positions than for the lower-paid positions?

“We need to know for certain whether we are legally entitled to address that disparity and, after that, we can decide as a board whether we should,” Commissioner Paul Heimel said. “A case can be made that those who have the dual jobs are entitled to higher pay, but the question is whether we should pass another across-the-board percentage increase that allows the disparity to grow even wider.”

The commissioners also said they have been contacting other counties across Pennsylvania to determine how they have handled the issue of elected officials’ salaries for 2012-15. So far, the average increase in the counties they’ve checked is between 2 and 3 percent annually.

One citizen attending Monday’s hearing pointed out that rising costs of the county’s health insurance plan covering these elected officials should be taken into account when salaries are set. Another said that a modest salary increase is appropriate, but efforts should be made to trim other county expenses so the higher pay does not result in a tax increase. One citizen opined that the salaries are high, by Potter County standards, for any elected officials who do not work full-time but instead rely on paid staff to perform their offices’ duties.

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One Comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think any politicians need a raise right now.

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