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Blair stalls on plan for costs and fines office

Judge Doyle recommended salary, new title for Adams

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A plan putting one person in charge of Blair County’s cost and fines office is on hold, pending review of more information.

The county salary board agreed Thursday to a 5 percent increase in pay, retroactive to May 22, for office co-chief Sally Adams, who has been handling additional responsibilities since co-chief Amber Phillips resigned.

The board stalled, however, on changing Adams’ title to office director and increasing her salary by about $5,000 to $40,568 annually. The salary board members want to gather information on jobs with comparable responsibilities.

President Judge Elizabeth Doyle, who recommended the new title and proposed salary for Adams, said the job’s responsibilities are comparable to director and administrative posts within the court system.

Doyle cautioned against compairing the job’s responsibilities with responsibilities assigned to county supervisory personnel, contending that would be an “apples and oranges” comparison.

The main responsibility of the county’s cost and fines office is to collect, track and disburse about $3 million annually, generally from incarcerated and non-incarcerated defendants.

“This is the office that collects restitution for victims of crime,” Doyle said.

Controller A.C. Stickel said he wanted more information about the director’s responsibilities and how they compare to responsibilities of county personnel outside the court system.

“Additional responsibilities warrant an increase but I’m not sure of the dollars,” Stickel said.

Commissioner Amy Webster proposed seeking guidance from East Coast Risk Management, the company directed in late 2019 to undertake more work on a job and wage classification study that would address the county’s expectations.

“We have a company working on a salaries review study,” Webster said. “Maybe we should call on them for their expertise.”

To date, that study is not yet finished but commissioners on Tuesday approved payment of $12,417 to the company without discussion. East Coast has made significant progress in recent months, Commissioner Laura Burke told the Mirror.

In response to Webster’s suggestion during the salary board meeting, Human Resources Director Katherine Swigart advised that if East Coast were asked for input on the cost and fines director post, it would make no commitment on when it would answer.

Doyle also said that if East Coast were asked for an evaluation, she would want to know the company’s procedures to reach its conclusions. Swigart said the company will share “general” information but not proprietary information.

Burke proposed the 5 percent increase for Adams while the salary board takes time to review additional job descriptions, then reconsider the matter at its Aug. 13 meeting.

The board also took no action on a related request to create another cost and fines enforcement officer job at $18,655 annually, to be paid for with money that was previously allocated for Phillips’ salary.

Phillips and Adams became co-chiefs of the department in 2008.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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