LOCK HAVEN - As a special public hearing looms on elected officials' salaries, the Clinton County commissioners say they are no closer to making a decision to increase wages or hold them steady.
The elected officials, which include the commissioners and row officers, are in the second and final year of a wage freeze. But their salaries are to increase by 3 percent in both 2010 and 2011, as decided upon by the previous board of commissioners in December 2006.
At that time, the commissioners froze salaries for this year and 2008 to bring the county more in line with other like-sized counties.
Commissioner Adam Coleman said this week that the commissioners have talked about setting wages for at least 2012 and 2013 to cover the four years for the treasurer and coroner's positions, which are up for re-election this year.
Both current Treasurer Pat Edwards and Coroner Donald Walker have announced they are running for re-election.
Coleman said the three commissioners and Chief Clerk Kathy Conrad will meet again sometime before the special public hearing - set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the commissioners' meeting room on the third floor of the Garden Building.
What: Hearing on county elected officials salaries
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Third floor meeting room, Garden Building
Why: Set rates for at least 2012 and 2013
"We need to get (together) so we can make a firm decision on which way we're going to go," he said. "We're also going to have to get (Solicitor) Lewis (Steinberg) involved with it to make sure there are no legal implications of what decision we will make."
Neither Commissioner Joel Long nor Tom Bossert commented.
Any salary increase must be imposed - with some minor exceptions - across the board, and will include the salaries for at least the first two years of the next board of commissioners.
The commissioners will earn $48,536 this year.
The salaries are set to increase 3 percent in 2010 and 2011 to $49,992 and $51,492, respectively.
Most of the row offices - treasurer, sheriff, coroner, prothonotary and register - will be paid $43,426 this year, which is due to increase to $44,729 and $46,071 in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
The prothonotary and register are due $4,542 more each of the next three years because of their added responsibilities of clerk of courts and recorder, respectively.
Also, the treasurer will be paid $8,142 more this year and up to $8,638 in 2011 because of the added tax-claim director responsibilities.
Jury commissioners make $7,661 this year, up to $7,891 and $8,128 in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Auditors make $114.97 per day this year, $118 in 2010 and $122 per day in 2011.
Clinton County has a 2000 Census population of 37,914.
As a comparison with similar Sixth-Class counties, the three commissioners in Columbia County - with a 2000 Census of 64,151 - will make less than their Clinton counterparts, $44,805, as do all row officers, except for the coroner, who is set to make $60,507 this year.
All Columbia County elected row officers are due 3 percent pay raises next year, except for sheriff and jury commissioners, who are up for re-election this year and an ordinance has not been set for those positions yet.
In Susquehanna County, with a population of 42,238, commissioners will make slightly more than in Clinton, $50,442, as do all the row officers, except for coroner at $34,983. Officials there will see increases of 3 percent in 2010 and 2011, and 2 percent in 2012 and 2013.
In Venango County, with a 2000 Census figure of 57,565, the commissioners will make $51,352 this year. All row offices, except for coroner, will also make more than their counterparts in Clinton County. The coroner in that county - a part-time position - will make $18,919 this year.