Bedford County’s elected officials will see pay increases for four years as the county tries to keep up with inflation and other counties’ median salary.
The Bedford County Commissioners approved firm pay increases for elected county officials at their Tuesday night meeting.
Salaries cannot be set during an election year, and pay increases are set for positions regardless of who is ultimately elected.
“We don’t even know if we’ll be elected. We’re on our way to the next elected officers,” said Treasurer Melissa Cottle.
Coroner Rusty Styer had compiled the average salary of other sixth-grade counties in Pennsylvania. A Class Six county is a county with a population between 45,000 and 89,999.
The commissioners, coroner, protho-notary, clerk of records, sheriff, and treasurer all earn less than the average Class 6 county salary. The average percentage among sixth grade salaries is 10% excluding the coroner. When the coroner is included in the equation, Bedford County is 21% below the average salary for Class 6 counties. The salary of the medical examiner in Bedford County is about 77% lower than the average salary for the sixth grade counties.
Bedford County commissioners salary in 2022 is $58,626 compared to $64,873 average. Coroner’s salary in 2022 is $24,732 compared to $43,868 average. The prothonotary follows at $57,973 compared to an average of $61,784, the recorder earns $57,969 compared to $62,515. The sheriff and treasurer earn $52,609 compared to $58,495 and $59,714.
Cottle pointed out that elected officials are reportedly paid 30 hours a week from their salary, although most elected officials work longer hours. She also noted that while elected officers have traditionally been part-time, most officers now have full-time positions.
“We’re just trying to get close to average. I think we’re all doing an above average job,” Cottle said.
Sheriff Wayne Emerick spoke about how elected officials must train for their offices and run for office during election years, which adds to the work required to run for and hold office. Emerick said running for sheriff’s nominee requires a 19-week training course.
“I think if we’re speaking for the sheriff’s office, we could at least consider the average that the rest of the state pays.” I think that would be fair to taxpayers, along with helping everyone who comes into these offices because it’s quite expensive to learn the required education,” Emerick said.
Emerick also pointed out that the positions do not receive overtime, while he and other elected officials can work many more hours than are reported.
Sheri Lowery, Protonotary, said while her position averages the cabinet salary, she runs three offices. She also pointed out that some officers have been unable to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic and the pandemic likely would have increased Styer’s hours if he was already working 24 hours a day.
The commissioners agreed that the coroner’s salary needed to be raised higher than that of other elected officials. Styer said he sees 10-20 deaths a week in his position.
“Getting us to the averages is a goal I would agree with. I’m not sure it’s possible to get there in one to three years,” Commissioner Barry Dallara said.
Commissioner Deb Baughman said the 2023 salaries provide increases over the 2022 salaries used in the statistics compiled by Styer.
Baughman agreed that elected officials need raises, especially with the cost of living rising and inflation rising. Baughman pointed out that while officers needed a higher salary, the county had other pressing maintenance issues that had been postponed to save money.
“I think we know when we enter public service that it’s never going to be enough,” Baughman said of salaries.
Dallara said as hard as the county is trying to catch up with other Pennsylvania counties, it appears wages continue to fall below average.
Commissioner Alan Frederick requested that the salaries of elected officials excluding the county coroner be set at 4.75% in 2024, 4.25% in 2025, 3% in 2026 and 2.75% in 2027, with the fixed salary increases for the county coroner were set at 10% in 2024 and 2025, with a 7% increase seen in 2026 and a 5% increase in 2027. The coroner’s position has a higher pay rise percentage as the county seeks to level the position with other elected officials. Baughman requested an amendment to Alan Frederick’s request for a 10% increase in the coroner’s position in 2024, 2025 and 2026, with a 7% increase in 2027.
The Commissioners will meet on 13 December unless convened earlier by the Committee of Commissioners.
- Maryland man accused of murdering 3 children, former…
- Georgia inflation rate | What is the current inflation rate…
- Fetterman outplayed Biden in most parts of PA to beat Oz.…
- Pennsylvania High School Football: PIAA Week 13 Schedule,…
- Inflation Hands Pay Increase to Top Pennsylvania Officials -…
- Pennsylvania civil servants get a pay rise thanks to…