The Franklin County (Pa.) Commissioners on Thursday set salaries for themselves, seven other high-ranking elected officials and 20 tax collectors for the next several years.
Starting in 2014, pay adjustments will be tied to the Consumer Price Index in an effort to link potential increases to the rate of inflation.
“We wanted to take the guesswork out and do it by the Consumer Price Index,” Commissioner Robert Ziobrowski said.
Affected are the commissioners, controller, prothonotary, treasurer, coroner, sheriff, clerk of courts, and register and recorder.
The commissioners are each being paid $72,144 in 2012; the controller, prothonotary, treasurer, coroner and sheriff are each being paid $65,259 in 2012; and the clerk of courts and register and recorder are each being paid $71,477 in 2012.
The commissioners are tasked with setting salaries every couple of years for various positions, which were on two different cycles for review. The board decided this week to make decisions through 2019 to get the positions on the same cycle.
Through past votes and the one Thursday evening, the salary adjustment structure is set as follows — in 2013, the commissioners and other elected officials like the prothonotary will get a 3 percent raise, followed by adjustments in line with the Consumer Price Index each year from 2014 to 2019.
Ziobrowski cautioned that a year of deflation could mean pay cuts for those positions.
The county could get additional positions in 2016 because its classification changed with the state due to population.
“All of the salaries have to be set prior to (individuals) running for office,” Commissioner Bob Thomas said.
“It’s only fair to let people know what they’re getting into,” Ziobrowski said, saying setting salaries years in advance makes the process less political.
“Inflation has an impact on the services we provide (and) to the people we serve. What we’re trying to do here — whether it’s for employees or elected offices — is ensure the salaries and wages in effect are competitive,” said David Keller, chairman of the commissioners.
“Continuing to establish a process on an annual basis based on the Consumer Price Index is consistent with that. We need to adjust (pay) annually to ensure (salaries) remain reasonable,” he added.
The pay for tax collectors will be affected by the Consumer Price Index, but they have a different structure in that they also receive pay per bill handled.
The county’s preliminary budget for 2013 calls for a tax increase officials say will cost the average homeowner $9, assuming that person’s house is worth about $150,000. That budget includes a 2 percent pay increase for county employees.