City offers clerk position
SHAMOKIN - City council voted Monday to offer the position of city clerk to Kulpmont's former mayor, but Robert M. Slaby hasn't officially accepted the job.
Reached by telephone after the meeting, Slaby, 62, who spent more than 27 years in banking, expressed reservations about the $35,000 salary approved as part of the 4-1 vote to offer him the job.
"That's considerably less than when they interviewed me," Slaby said, adding that the range in salary discussed was between $45,000 and $60,000.
An actual wage had not been negotiated, but Slaby said he didn't want to take less than his predecessor.
Slaby would also be required to pay 30 percent of a health benefits package: approximately $7,000 for family coverage or $3,000 for single, based on 2013 rates. That's exceptionally more costly compared to the $25 weekly contribution enacted in January and required of all non-union employees in city hall.
The salary offered to Slaby matches the $35,000 salary that previous city clerk Steve Bartos accepted when he was hired in May 2011. That rose to $36,050 in 2012 before boosted to $45,400 in 2013. In the revised budget adopted by council for 2014, $44,990 was set aside for the position.
Mayor William D. Milbrand said after the meeting that the salary offered to Slaby had not been discussed with the applicant, and he wanted all of council's opinion before making an offer.
Milbrand and Councilman David Kinder along with private-sector financial advisers and officials of state Department of Community and Economic Development conducted the interviews. Details were apparently shared Monday during a 45-minute closed-door executive session.
The mayor acknowledged that the salary could lead Slaby to turn down Shamokin's offer.
"His resume indicated that salary was negotiable. It's a possibility that maybe when we tell him he won't accept the salary," Milbrand said.
The health benefits contribution of 30 percent is a "new wave," Milbrand said, but did not indicate if that would be required of other city hall employees in the near future.
Kinder called Slaby the "top candidate," specifically citing his time as Kulpmont mayor.
"I think Mr. Slaby brings a wealth of benefits with his government background. The job he's stepping into requires a person who has that type of background," Kinder said.
Milbrand, Kinder, Councilwoman Barbara Moyer and Councilman R. Craig Rhoades all voted to offer Slaby the job. Councilman Charlie Verano dissented.
"I have nothing against Mr. Slaby, but I just wanted a financial person. But I'll work with him and I'll extend my cooperation for the good of the city," Verano said.
He said he had no specific candidate in mind.
Should Slaby accept the job, he expressed confidence in his capabilities to keep Shamokin within its budget but said complete cooperation would be needed from elected officials and employees alike.
The budget, he said, would have to be reviewed and carefully followed to "stop the bleeding" and get a handle on what actual tax revenue is versus expenditures.
"You can't operate the city of Shamokin from the seat of your pants. You need to know how much money it has day to day," Slaby said.
Slaby is the father of Coal Township manager Robert Slaby.