The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 4, 2014

Judge blocks Northumberland County pay cuts

Bridy calls jurist 'a leech'


Shoch: Lack of fairness

“The result is the only logical result that the judge could have come to. However, the point that I hope is impressed on the public is how an impartial judge from outside of Northumberland County sees the Clausi/Bridy brand of county government administration,” Shoch said. “His opinion recognizes in our county government the lack of fundamental fairness, justice and equal protections that Americans outside of Northumberland County take for granted. Northumberland County citizens need to think about this as we head into the 2015 election year, and remember to cast a vote that will ensure that they can enjoy the same freedoms, rights and protections that other American citizens enjoy.

“It is time this county resembled America, rather than a third-world dictatorship ruled by one man and his toadie.”

In November, row officers won the first round in the fight to prevent their salaries from being cut up to 48 percent and having their health care contributions increased to 50 percent of the county cost.

After the two-hour hearing, Grine granted a temporary injunction preventing the cuts in response to a lawsuit filed by Coroner James F. Kelley, Register and Recorder Mary Zimmerman, Sheriff Chad Reiner and Treasurer Kevin Gilroy against the county.

Bridy and Clausi voted for the cuts in October while Shoch opposed the changes.

Row officers were represented by Samuel Stretton, of West Chester. Solicitor Frank Garrigan and assistant solicitor John Muncer represented the county.

During the hearing, Kelley, Zimmerman, Gilroy, Bridy, Shoch, then-controller Tony Phillips and human resources director Joseph Picarelli, who provided salary and insurance cost information, were all called to testify. Clausi was not present for the hearing.

Shoch testified that no studies were conducted before the proposed reductions were approved.

Bridy and Clausi voted to cut the commissioners salaries, too, from $61,000 to $31,500.

Under their plan, the coroner’s salary would have dropped from $53,834 to $30,500, the prothonotary’s and register and recorder’s salaries from $57,396 to $31,000, and sheriff’s and treasurer’s from $53,834 to $31,000.

The change in health care contributions would have increased the monthly rates from $108 to $348 for the single plan; $175 to $694 for a two-party plan; and $241 to $873 for a family.

$1.4 million in savings

Clausi and Bridy estimated savings in salary and benefits at $1.4 million over the combined four-year terms of the offices.

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