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Request for auditor overtime pay at controller's office not approved

Published November 27. 2009 05:00PM

The Schuylkill County Employees Retirement Board refuse to act on a request for overtime pay by an auditor in the controller's office at Wednesday's meeting at the courthouse in Pottsville.

Controller Melinda Kantner, who with the three commissioners make up the salary board, made the motion to pay her auditor $6,143.64 for working 199 hours overtime. She pointed out that last December the county commissioners removed one auditor from her office and transferred the person to the commissioners' office. This required a second auditor to put in overtime and handle the workload in her office.

She referred to an executive meeting held recently with the commissioners with the auditor and his counsel. Commissioners Mantura Gallagher and Francis McAndrew did not concur with her observations. When Kantner asked minority Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier to confirm her obsevations, his response was he didn't recall.

Kantner's motion died because there was no second from any of the commissioners. She has a suit pending in the county court. An out-of-county judge has been assigned to preside in the case because all six county judges reclused themselves. No date is set for hearing. The judge did rule for the commmissioners to respond to the suit.

The salary board fixed salaries of jobs consolidated in three positions which were enacted by the commissioners at their meeting before the salary board meeting. Paul Straka, Shenandoah, was moved from budget analyst and purchasing manager to assistant county administrator in charge of fiscal operation (salary of $52,745); Martina Chwastiak, West Brunswick Township, was transferred from risk manager to Human Resource Director and Risk Manager (salary of $52,745); and Heather Garrity, Pottsville, transfered from payroll administrator to payroll administrator and assistant risk manager (salary of $33,271).

When the three positions were established, Guy Wiederhold, staff representative for District Council 89 of the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Union voiced his displeasure at the commissioners' action.

"It is a slap in the face to my people. I take it personally, I really do, There will be consequences," he stated.

Wiederhold has stated it was unfair to give three courthouse employees raises while at the same time asking the workers to take a 14 per cent pay cut. The union people last week voted in favor of layoffs instead of the pay cut. He also called the action by the commissioners as poor timing.

Commissioner Gallagher said the commissioners have nothing to hide and if they had waited until after the vote to go through with the consolidation, the reflexion would have been worse.

Commissioner Francis McAndrew said the consolidation is a savings of $109,000 per year to the county because the positions vacated by the departure of Tom White as Human Resource Director and Darlene Dolzani as fiscal administrator provided the savings.

Commissioner Frank Staudenmeier pointed out to Wiederhold that when a union employee is promoted, a raise is granted. He wondered why a management employee shouldn't receive the same consideration.

Wiederhold answered he was not questioning that they were not entitled to the raise, only that the timing was poor.

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