Dean Browning (responding to a constituent):
Thank you very much for taking the time to write to us and express your concern. The salaries for the row officers (Clerk of Judicial Records, Controller, Coroner, and Sheriff) are set by the Board of Commissioners and must be established a minimum of 365 days before they take office. The last change in their salary was approved in 2006 setting their pay at $62,500 each beginning in 2008. Their pay has remained at that level since then and will stay at there though 2011. The bill currently under consideration keeps their salary at $62,500 through 2012 and then calls for a $1,500 increase in 2013, 2014 and 2015. If this is approved, those position will have gone five years without an increase and then receive subsequent increases that mirror the expected growth in the County’s revenue at a constant millage rate. In other words, the increase in their salary scheduled for 2013 would be covered without requiring an increase in property taxes to pay for it. In the alternative, if we don’t take action this year then their salaries would remain at the current though 2015, a period of eight years without any increase. Given the importance of the positions in question, I believe the fiscally responsible approach is to provide adequately compensation for these positions so that competent, qualified individuals are interested in seeking them. To me, it is being “penny wise and pound foolish” to do otherwise. For example, does it really benefit the county to save $1,500 three years from now if that discourages a qualified individual from running for controller and in turn that results in a future failure to uncover potential fraud? I would think the recent experience in Lower Macungie would indicate that this type of frugality is often self defeating.
Thanks again for writing and expressing your view.
Andy Roman (from an email to Commissioners):
I will vote "NO" because now is not the time to be giving pay raises.
It sends a bad message and complicates union negotiations at a critical time.
Plus, we have no merit system or evaluation criteria to justify giving pay increases even if we had the money.