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Judge urges county raises

Doyle joins Burke in calling for wage hike for non-union employees

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Blair County President Judge Elizabeth Doyle has called upon the salary board to minimize the delay of enacting non-union pay raises recommended in a recent study.

In commenting Thursday during a salary board meeting to work on the county’s first compensation policy, Doyle said she joins Commissioner Laura Burke in urging the board to enact recommended non-union raises retroactive to the beginning of 2021.

“To delay,” the judge said, “increases the likelihood that we will lose more good employees and brings to mind the phrase, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.'”

Doyle’s reference to the loss of employees was based on recent resignations by adult parole and probation officers.

“In their exit interviews,” she said, “they cited inadequate compensation as the one of the main reasons for leaving.”

One officer who resigned Feb. 19 was making $23,790 annually.

Another officer who resigned Feb. 26 was making $25,744.

Doyle acknowledged that the parole and probation officers are represented by a union and governed by a negotiated labor contract. But her comments, the judge said, are intended for non-union employees and to other county departments.

“In the years and months before we got the salary study, when department heads and elected officials asked for needed increases in compensation to retain employees, we were told: ‘Wait for the salary study.’

“We were also told that a fund was being set aside to be able to implement the raises recommended by the salary study. Now the salary study is here, and the funds should still be in reserve,” the judge said.

So far, Burke has been the lone salary board member to speak in favor of moving ahead with enacting study-recommended pay raises to non-union employees.

Her fellow salary board members — commissioners Bruce Erb and Amy Webster and Controller A.C. Stickel — have spoken in favor of a delay, pending development of a compensation policy and receipt of financial information associated with the action.

Salary study recommendations for union-represented positions are to be addressed during future labor contract negotiations, county leaders have said.

After the public comment period for Thursday’s meeting concluded, the salary board devoted at least two hours to discussing employment-related terms applicable to the county’s hiring process. They also showed interest in job classification recommendations, as suggested in the study, aimed at establishing similar pay for jobs with similar tasks.

The salary board is expected to continue convening weekly meetings, at 10:30 a.m. Thursdays, until it finishes a compensation policy.

Mirror Staff Writer Kay Stephens is at 946-7456.

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