Commissioners overstep bounds

Blair County commissioners seem to be very selective in whom they provide pay raises to and to whom they apply the salary study.

As a reminder, commissioners, as well as all elected officials, were not part of the salary study. They speak of equity and fairness, yet they do not apply the same standards to themselves.

Commissioners vote for and approve their own raises and those of elected officials. It should be noted that commissioners and county elected officials are already equal to the pay of other Class 5 counties, yet other county employees are far below the pay of other Class 5 counties.

Commissioners speak of the need to conduct a salary study to ensure pay for county employees is fair and equitable. Commissioners have repeatedly stated they will not entertain pay raises for employees until they receive the results of the salary study, which has cost the taxpayers over $74,000 in expenses.

Even though we are still awaiting the results of the salary study, commissioners have approved a $10,000 raise for a position, a 6.1 percent raise for the prothonotary and more recently approved raises for county attorneys.

As true politicians, they say one thing and do another for a select few people, yet the majority of employees continue to wait for fair and equitable wages.

Commissioners have stated the salary study will not be completed and results provided until mid-2019. They have also stated that once they receive this study, they will have to mull over the report to determine how to proceed.

This, in essence, indicates that staff will not see any pay raises until the end of 2019 and/or the beginning of 2020, which essentially provides the commissioners two additional years before providing raises to those who need it the most.

I am supportive of the attorneys and prothonotary’s office receiving pay increases as they deserve this and more. However, all county employees need to be equal to other Class 5 counties as well, not just commissioners and elected officials.

As citizens of this county, this should outrage us. We are losing good people because of pay, which affects the effectiveness of government. In fact, some of the seasoned assistant district attorneys are taking on additional cases due to the fact they have lost so many seasoned prosecutors and new attorneys need time to be briefed and review old as well as new cases.

I speculate that since the commissioners have raised our taxes so much they are not taking up the pay raise at this time. The delay tactic is for them to defer raises for another year and then use the salary study to once again raise our taxes.

We need commissioners who know how to manage, who can live within a budget, who look at reducing county government not continuing to simply place this burden on the taxpayers.

Commissioners should not be able to approve their own raises. The citizens of the county should approve any and all pay raises for commissioners and elected officials.

David Kessling