Carbon County's elected officials will not see a pay increase in 2014 and 2015.
During a special county commissioners' meeting on Tuesday evening, the board voted unanimously to not increase the county's elected officials salaries for those two years.
This means that the county commissioners will receive a 2 percent salary increase in 2011, 2012, and 2013, which was previously set in 2006 and January 2009. In 2014 and 2015, the individuals in those seats will each receive $64,554. The commissioners are currently earning $60,830.
The county treasurer, controller, recorder of deeds, sheriff, prothonotary and clerk of courts will also receive a 2 percent increase for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013, and will receive $57,764 in 2014 and 2015. They are currently earning $54,432.
Additionally, the register of wills/clerk of orphans court, which is a dual office, will receive $58,917 for register of wills with an additional $2,000 for clerk of orphans court in 2014 and 2015; the coroner will receive $27,316 in 2014 and 2015; and the jury commissioners will receive $10,220.
Commissioner Charles Getz, who made the motion to not increase salaries for those two years, said he feels that the board's decision is the right thing to do.
"We all know the condition of the economy and I feel we as elected officials have to do our part in trying to really be saving where ever we can," he said. "There are people out there losing their jobs and trying to get jobs. We also have elderly people just trying to stay in their homes with the way the economy is. I just feel it's a moral obligation for us as commissioners not to increase the salaries for any of the row officers."
Commissioners William O'Gurek, chairman; and Wayne Nothstein echoed Getz's thoughts.
Nothstein noted that this decision does not affect county employee salary increases, which are set at the beginning of each year.
"We need to set the tone as the leaders," O'Gurek said. "I think that this is our way of saying that we know that times are difficult. Unemployment is in the teens. Some residents' salaries are frozen and others are losing their jobs."
He added that the zero percent increase represents one of the ways the commissioners are trying to save taxpayer money.
Sheriff Dwight Nothstein, the only row office official, in addition to the commissioners, present at the meeting said he agreed with the reasons for the board's decision.
The board voted on the salaries for 2014 and 2015 because article three of the state constitution "prohibits increases in the salary of any public officer during his or her term of office."
The commissioners must also set the commissioners' salaries in advance because they are not allowed to vote on their own salaries during their term in office.
All three commissioner seats will be up for election in 2011, meaning that the board could be made up of new individuals when these increases take place.