Meadville Tribune

Local News

December 12, 2012

County commissioners giving back pay raises

MEADVILLE — Crawford County’s three commissioners have followed through on their mutual pledge to not take a pay increase in 2012.

The three commissioners said at their weekly work session Tuesday that they are returning a $1,290 pay hike for 2012 this month to the county.

“It did take time, but we had to work out the mechanics of it,” Commissioner Jack Lynch said Tuesday.

The $3,870 total that the commissioners aren’t accepting in salary will remain in the county’s general fund budget, Chairman Francis Weiderspahn said Tuesday.

At Tuesday’s work session, the commissioners said they had the county finance office adjust each of their salaries downward by $645 for each of the county’s two employee pay days in December.

The county finance office confirmed the action to the Tribune. Commissioners also will have their pay scale for 2013 be at the 2011 level, the finance office confirmed.

At their meeting Jan. 5, the new board of commissioners — Weiderspahn, Lynch and C. Sherman Allen — said they would hold their salaries at 2011 levels for 2012, 2013 and 2014 and review the situation for 2015, the fourth year of their four-year term. The commissioners voluntarily refused their own wage increases to come true on a 2011 campaign pledge to help the county control costs.

The annual salary for each of the three Crawford County commissioners in 2011 was $64,522.

But, the annual salary for each of the three Crawford County commissioners was mandated to increase to $65,812 in 2012 — a $1,290 or 2 percent increase above the 2011 rate of $64,522. It was a total increase of $3,870 for the three commissioners.

The salaries of county commissioner and those of other elected county-funded posts for 2012 through 2015 were set in February 2009 by the board of commissioners serving at that time. January started new terms of office for county commissioners, sheriff, prothonotary, recorder of deeds/register of wills and coroner.

Under Pennsylvania law, commissioners cannot change the set salaries of elected county officials currently in office. Any change in salary for a county-elected official is effective with the next term of office. Any change in salary rates voted on by the current county commissioners would be effective with the term that begins in January 2016.

While they pledged in January to not take a salary increase, the new board of commissioners still was working on how to deal with the matter in August. In mid-August, Lynch, Weiderspahn and Allen said they still were working with the county finance department to determine the best way to return the pay increase and whether there would be any potential income tax implications for each commissioner.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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