HAGERSTOWN —Five new Washington County government positions — including assistant county administrator — were created Tuesday, using money redirected from vacant positions.
County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said the net savings will be about $117,000 — money that might be used later for a top-level economic development position.
The county will no longer pay about $464,000 in salaries for eight positions that haven’t been filled.
Instead, the money is going to five new positions, as well as one position that is about to become vacant but will be filled at a lower salary and one position being revived, also at a lower salary.
Pay increases for three other existing positions also is included in the switch.
The total for the new salaries and adjustments is about $302,000.
A chart also lists a $45,000 increase in the budget for departments, leaving a net gain of about $117,000.
Murray said the county also will come out ahead on benefit costs, which are not factored into the salaries.
The Washington County Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of the changes on Tuesday after Murray summarized them. Commissioner William B. McKinley was absent.
“This has been a long time coming,” Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said, calling the shift an improvement.
Terry L. Baker, the president of the commissioners, who voted no, said he supports some changes, but not the whole package.
A list showing the changes wasn’t made available to the public before or during the discussion, but Murray gave a reporter a copy afterward.
During a public comment period, Robin Wivell of St. James, who ran unsuccessfully for county commissioner in 2010, chastised county officials for not sharing the information.
During an interview, Murray said the changes were administrative personnel decisions, approved by the county commissioners with existing money in the budget. If the new positions required spending additional money, the public would have been asked to comment, he said.
The commissioners started talking about the changes in closed session about a month ago, he said.
Murray said he expects the new positions to be advertised this month.
The exception is the newly created position of assistant county administrator, which will be filled by Sarah Lankford Sprecher, the current director of public relations and community affairs.
The assistant county administrator’s salary will be $79,704, the highest of the new positions.
Duties include working with the administrator, helping prepare the annual budget and completing special projects.