The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 15, 2014

Clausi: Return of 5th ADA post ‘insane’


“Insane” to reinstate post

The eliminated assistant district attorney position in Northumberland County totaled about $80,000 in salaries and benefits, leaving four assistant district attorneys, one victim/witness coordinator and three secretaries in the office.

The salaries for the nine employees in the DA’s office, including Rosini, total $534,920.10.

Targonski’s salary is $68,656.90, while three other assistants’ salaries are as follows: William Cole, $66,430; Michael Seward, $65,126.88; and Michael Toomey, $66,430.

Clausi said reinstating the assistant district attorney position would be “insane” and “not right to the taxpayers” because there’s no extra money in the budget.

Clausi, Bridy, Shoch, Rosini and current Controller Christopher Grayson will vote on Rosini’s request.

Anyone who votes in favor of it should be thrown out of office, Clausi said.

Shoch, who was in his first month as a commissioner when he voted to eliminate the position, said he was relying on Clausi’s information two years ago when he made his decision.

“I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but I’ve learned that a lot of these moves from Mr. Clausi are driven by vendetta rather than facts,” Shoch said.

He is willing to reconsider his past vote depending on what Rosini has to say during the meeting.

Said Rosini: “Two members of my staff, an ADA and the county detective, were cut at a time when we had a high case load. As a result my staff’s work was increased to the point where they cannot handle all of their cases in the time available.

“Additionally, the cases at the prison are not being investigated and filed, and local police departments lost the assistance of the county detective when conflicts came up.

“We used the county detective to assist in homicide investigations and trial preparation and cutting him affected our ability to adequately prepare serious cases for trial.”

While the deficit in 2012 was real, Shoch said the county must be smarter in what positions are cut.

The move to eliminate an ADA hurt the county in the long run by backlogging cases.

Rather, he said, Clausi and Bridy are willing to spend money on personnel that’s not needed, such as a full-time assistant solicitor, additional maintenance employees and an entire budget department when the controller department can handle those duties.

Clausi trumpeted the elimination of more than 130 unneeded employees in the past six years while he has been a commissioner, and he said he’s worried Northumberland County will return to the “good time Charlie” ways of operating the county.

“You have to run it like a businessman, not a politician,” he said.

Other requests

At least two other requests will be on the salary board agenda, Clausi said.

President Judge William Wiest wants to set the salary of new probation chief Jim Cortelyou after Michael Barvitskie took a job as a supervisor with the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole in the Williamsport district.

County engineer Chuck Hopta is also requesting a raise for a supervisor after another employee retired.


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