Snowbound state and county employees who didn’t get to work Wednesday should be compensated, Valley government officials said.

“My personal opinion is that it was an act of God,” Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk said of the snowstorm that left 10.25 inches in the Valley and closed roads and county offices.

All of the 200 county employees will receive pay for that day, at a cost of about $24,000.

Because it was the county’s decision to shut down and not the workers’, employees shouldn’t be docked pay, Derk said.

“The governor closed many roads and asked people not to drive,” Derk said. “That was our point of view.”

Gov. Ed Rendell is taking heat for giving about 50,000 nonessential state employees a paid day off to deal with the historic snowfall instead of making them use vacation or sick leave.

According to a published report, the move will cost Pennsylvania about $8.3 million.

State Reps. Russ Fairchild, R-85, of Lewisburg, and Merle Phillips, R-108, of Sunbury, support paying workers for the day off.

“Given the circumstances, I think it was a good decision,” Fairchild said of the storm that set snowfall records across Pennsylvania. “Roads were closed and there was no place to park.”

The midweek snowstorm will cost Northumberland County about $67,000, the usual daily wages paid to about 500 employees.

“It wasn’t their fault. We took them off the road for safety reasons and so we could plow,” board Chairman Frank Sawicki of the county’s decision to close offices and declare a state of emergency.

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