The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

October 11, 2013

5 to sue after pay cut 48%

Row officers hire county solicitor to battle county

SUNBURY — SUNBURY — Five row officers whose salaries were slashed up to 48 percent on Oct. 1 intend to file a lawsuit against Northumberland County and be represented in part by a county solicitor.

Recorder of Deeds Mary Zimmerman, Coroner James Kelley, Sheriff Chad Reiner, Treasurer Kevin Gilroy and Prothonotary Kathleen Strausser have chosen attorney Samuel Stretton, of West Chester, to represent them in a lawsuit that challenges their salaries being lowered to $31,000 or less.

David Marateck, a Shamokin attorney and county treasurer’s office solicitor, is the liaison between the county and Stretton, Gilroy said.

Controller Tony Phillips is not part of the lawsuit. His salary remained at $56,676 after the Oct. 1 meeting. He is running for re-election in November.

In addition to their salaries being lowered, row officers must also pay 50 percent of their benefit premiums.

“I want the media to cover this story,” Stretton said. “The public should be made aware of everything that is happening.”

The public must wait until Monday or Tuesday to learn the basis of the lawsuit against Northumberland County and Commissioners Vinny Clausi, Steve Bridy and Rick Shoch, because the complaint has not been filed.

County officials “violated the statute,” Stretton said Friday. “I believe they have a case and I look forward to presenting it.”

Stretton said he will file the lawsuit in Northumberland County Court and was not sure whether any Northumberland County judge would hear the case.

“I sued one of the judge’s family and I represented another one,” Stretton said. “So I’m not sure what will happen, but that is up to them.”

Stretton wouldn’t identify which judge he represented, but did say he sued President Judge Robert Sacavage’s family over a school district issue. He would not elaborate.

Court administrator Brandy Yasenchak said she heard a lawsuit was in the making but that nothing was filed as of Friday. Sacavage and Judge William Wiest, who have recused themselves, she said.

Yasenchak has not heard whether Judge Charles Saylor would hear the case.

“Maybe they will bring someone in from another county,” Stretton said. “I’m not sure what they plan to do.”

Northumberland became the first county in Pennsylvania to slash row officers’ salaries — in some cases up to 48 percent.

Commissioners also cut their own pay by nearly 50 percent.

Additionally, row officers and commissioners will begin to pay 50 percent toward medical benefits. Those leaders claiming three dependents will contribute up to $10,500 annually in premiums alone.

Row offices were set at $31,000 and most will feel the pay cuts starting Jan. 1. The treasurer’s and sheriff’s pay won’t be reduced until 2016.

The coroner’s salary was set at $30,500 because the state recognized the position as being a lower-paid job than the rest, Bridy said, so he felt he would stick with the commonwealth’s recommendation.

Row officers need to do what is right for the taxpayers of Northumberland County, “and for the future of these offices,” said Gilroy, the treasurer.

Taxpayers should know Marateck is a county employee, Clausi said.

“I believe any attorney that is suing the taxpayers should not be receiving funds from the county,” Clausi said. “Shame on Mr. Gilroy for having him work on this against the county.”

Marateck is also the solicitor of the Northumberland County Authority board.

“I am going to reach out to the Northumberland County Authority board and tell them they should not have this attorney and he receives taxpayer money and he should not receive any more money,” Clausi said.

Saylor should not hear the case, Clausi said.

“As a professional he knows he must recuse himself,” Clausi said. “Everyone knows there has been bad blood between him (Saylor) and the commissioners office.”

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

  • 1plane18.jpg Air travel a leap of faith for passengers

    Airline travel requires passengers to make a leap of faith, entrusting their lives to pilots, airlines, air traffic controllers and others who regulate air travel.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Honduran president: U.S. has enormous responsibility for crisis

    The historic influx of illegal immigrants from Central America is caused primarily by the high demand for illicit drugs in the United States, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Today's Editorial: Child's sensibilities shield bad parents

    Periodically, a decree goes forth from the county seat announcing a special on child support, generally in the form of reducing charges and fines for all those able and willing to make good on some payments now past due.

    July 25, 2014

  • Budd fundraising run to pass Geisinger

    MILTON — It’s “kickstands up” tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. from LT’s Tavern on Route 405 in Milton where hundreds of motorcycles will take off on a run to raise funds for the Budds, the Ohio family whose matriarch, Sharon, recovers at Geisinger Medical Center from grave injuries suffered in a rock-throwing incident two weeks ago.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.