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Blair salary study on track

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County’s salary study is on target to be finished in August and available for use in planning the county’s 2020 budget.

Owner John Felice of Felice Associates, the Greensburg-based company hired to complete the study, is offering assurance that unless informational-related glitches develop, the study will be finished by August.

County leaders asked Felice for an update Tuesday after he asked them to assign his company’s contract to East Coast Risk Management LLC, a company with a Pittsburgh-area office.

East Coast Risk Management announced in early May that it had acquired Felice Associates as a way of expanding its human resource services, especially in the public sector. The company also indicated that it would continue to conduct certain business initiatives under the Felice name for the foreseeable future.

Felice said Tuesday that he, along with Felice Associates staff working on the county salary study, will remain employed with the combined company.

“There’s going to be no transition problems interfering with the county’s study,” Felice said.

In a statement announcing the acquisition, East Coast Risk Management President Michael Lukart praised Felice Associates for its 45 years in labor relations and human resource work.

The acquisition, Lukart said, will significantly strengthen East Coast’s capabilities, particularly in the public sector.

As Felice spoke Tuesday to commissioners, County Administrator Helen Schmitt asked for an update on the salary study. Felice described it as about one-third complete and said it should be ready for review in August.

Commissioner Terry Tomassetti also asked about having the information ready for planning the 2020 budget and in negotiating three labor union contracts for next year.

Felice said the study ready for review in August will be subject to corrections, but they should be rendered by mid-October when the county is scheduled to introduce a draft 2020 budget.

Felice also indicated that the salary study’s recommendations will be reflective of the area as well as the range of job duties and comparable compensation paid by public and private employers.

“You want to avoid comparing apples and oranges,” Felice said. “What you want to compare is apples and apples.”

Commissioners voted a year ago to authorize Felice Associates to undertake a salary study. It is the first one in more than 20 years. The cost was set at $74,500 plus expenses, all of which was to be paid for with money set aside in the county’s 2017 bond issue. The contract indicates that the study will cover 293 job titles currently held by 543 union and nonunion employees.

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