The Warren County Commissioners set salaries for offices up for election next fall during a special meeting on Wednesday night.
And not everyone was happy about it.
Salaries for prothonotary, coroner, tax collector, judge of elections and inspector of elections were passed by a unanimous vote. The salaries are in effect for the next term 2014 through 2017.
County Coroner Jerry Borden brought his case for a more significant raise to the attention of the commissioners.
"I have been coroner for 20 years. I started out at $13,000 something," Borden said. "Twenty years and I'm getting $17,000 now. I think that it's time. The coroner's position is much more important now. I am finding that I am lower paid in a sixth-class county than a lot of the seventh- and eighth-class counties. I think it's a little bit out of line" with some other county positions.
"The reason why I started is because I cared about the emergency personnel and citizens of Warren County," Borden continued, saying that a coroner who has to have additional employment might not have the flexibility that Borden currently does.
Commissioner John Eggleston asked Borden, "Under what circumstances are we required to transport a body? A lot of people have made arrangements."
Borden explained that any unwitnessed death requires a call to the coroner as well as fatalities in automobile accidents, among other instances. "I have tried to keep it (costs) down, but it's getting to the pointyou get a 2.5 percent raise on $51,000 is quite a bit different than a 2.5 percent (raise) on $16,000.
"If I wasn't doing my job, I could understand it," he said. "They're putting more stuff on as far as what has to be done."
Commissioner John Bortz took exception with the comparison of Warren County to other sixth-class counties because some can have a significantly higher population.
"There (are) counties adjacent to us where commissioners get $20,000 to $30,000 more than us," Chairman Stephen Vanco said. "It's not relevant. It's about what Warren County can do."
"My problem is, I don't have a grasp on how many days you have calls," said Vanco. "How much time is consumed by this position?"
Borden said the position is the "same as the commissioner, 35 hours on a pay check. I would say there might be a couple times when I don't get all of those in, others where I go over." The coroner is on-call all the time and responds as needed.
"Mr. Borden has been petitioning the commissioners office or some time," Bortz said. "Historically, the answer has been that we have been extremely conservative" with employee salaries. "There are inequities. In the spirit of public service, you don't take these jobs for the money. (You) take it because there is a job to do."
But Bortz acknowledged Borden's concern, indicating that his comments "doesn't fall on deaf ears. The financial situation that we have within Warren County, it's not just you. It's what we have to work with."
Eggleston said people who seek documentation to run for these positions will receive paperwork explaining the wages to eliminate confusion.
The commissioners approved all of the proposed salaries unanimously.
Each position will receive a 2.5 percent raise going into 2014 with two percent raises in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The prothonotary's base salary in 2014 was set at $48,599. In 2017, the position's salary will be $51,531.
For tax collector positions, the rate is set at $2.67 per document per parcel. "It's per document because there are three documents generated per parcel," Bortz said. A two percent increase equals six cents per yearl the 2017 price will be $2.85 per document.
The judge of elections will be paid $154 per day and will serve on both the day of the primary and the general election. The raise jumps the total salary $3 per year.
The inspector of elections will make $102 in 2014 with two-dollar raises each year through the term.
Only the prothonotary and the coroner will receive county benefits.