Clausi and Bridy slash row office salaries

SUNBURY—Amid voiced controversy, Northumberland County could be looking at significant savings. Northumberland County Commissioners voted Wednesday night to drop the salaries of most elected county officials, some facing a decrease of almost 50%. Commissioner Steven Bridy said the previously set salaries of up to $61,000 were a detriment to taxpayers.

“When our median household income in the county is $37,000 and these people are making well over that as well as walking away with a pension—it’s a travesty, especially when we have elderly people who can’t afford their medication. Someone needed to lead by example and I felt that we did that we did so tonight.”

Commissioners voted 2 to 1 (with Commissioner Rick Shoch voting ‘no’) to lower the salaries of the register and recorder, prothonotary, sheriff, coroner, and commissioners by almost 50% starting in the next election term of each of the row officers. Elected leaders will also have to pay 50% of their health care costs in the future. Bridy and Clausi spared only their favored row officer–the county controller Tony Phillips. Clausi said Phillips is deserving of the pay as an effective and sound ‘watchdog’ over county misspending.

Public comment by elected leaders and the community members at the meeting centered on a concern that lowered salaries would lessen the quality of the county’s row officers. Commissioner Vinny Clausi said pay cuts will only put an end to the career politician and give rise to public servitude. He said that the reductions that brought row officer salaries to no less than $30,000 will bring elected officials to a moderate pay scale, saving residents from increased taxes in the face of state-wide budget cuts.

“I fight the last 4 years for the senior citizen. They cut it and cut it and cut it. In Harrisburg, they cut us and cut us and cut us. We don’t have no more money to serve. We had to give them frozen food because we didn’t have the money. Shame on Harrisburg; shame on the legislator; shame on Washington, them career politicians. 30 years in Washington and look what’s going on in Washington. They’re running the country, these career politicians.”

Taking the biggest pay cut, Northumberland County Commissioners dropped their own salaries to $31,500 down from $61,000. Commissioner Clausi said over a four year term, the initiative will save the county over $1 million. (Carrie Haines)

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