Group recognizing county officials urges commissioners to reconsider salary cuts
(The following resolution was passed by the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials Thursday.)
Whereas, the Pennsylvania State Association of Elected County Officials, commonly known as PSAECO, is organized to further the business and purpose of the members of the organization.
Whereas, the PSAECO membership is comprised of elected county officers representing associations of the following: the county commissioners, the county controllers, the sheriffs, the district attorneys, the register of wills and clerks of orphans' courts, the prothonotarys and clerk of courts, the county treasurers, the recorder of deeds, the coroners, the jury commissioners, the county auditors;
Whereas, PSAECO members regulary meet in Harrisburg, regarding the various members' organizations and to discuss issues of the day and PSAECO is organized and meets for the advancement of the operation of efficient county governance in the interest of the public that each officer is elected to serve;
Whereas, PSAECO is aware of recent actions and proposed actions of the Northumberland County commissioners to substantially reduce the pay and benefits of certain county elected officials in Northumberland County in a manner that PSAECO believes in contrary to law and contrary to the best interests of the citizens of Northumberland County;
Whereas, the members of PSAECO operate and represent hundreds of county elected officers, commonly referred to as "row officers" through member organizations;
Whereas, most county officers are constitutionally-mandated elected positions of a county operating under a traditional form of government, and said row officers are subject to all of the rights, duties and responsibilities and protections that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the County Code requires of and affords such officers;
Whereas, row officers are independently elected and perform statutorily-mandated functions of county governance;
Whereas, PSAECO recognizes the importance of the function of row officers, and that each row officer serves the public and performs very important public governmental functions for the citizens of the county in which each row officer is elected;
Whereas, PSAECO believes that the effort of the Northumberland County commissioners to substantially reduce pay and benefits for row officers is contrary to law and will jeopardize the ongoing and required functions of county elected officers in Northumberland County to a level that is less than the public deserves and to which the public has become accustomed;
Whereas, PSAECO believes that the arbitrary and capricious cuts to elected officials' salaries will have a negative impact in attracting qualified candidates and county government could be deprived of qualified elected officials able to provide the necessary time and energy to important governmental functions, and qualified candidates are required to direct the implementation of legal and statutory duties;
Whereas, PSAECO recognizes the financial difficulties and struggles which many Pennsylvania families are currently experiencing in the existing economic climate;
Whereas, PSAECO recognizes and agrees that counties must carefully budget the limited available resources so as not to burden taxpayers beyond current levels of taxation while serving the needs of the public;
Whereas, PSAECO, in recognizing these principles, continues to encourage each row officer to operate the office to which each is elected, efficiently and in a manner to reduce costs of operation without failing the public in the performance of statutorily-mandated functions, necessary and required in the interest of the public and common good;
Whereas, row officers throughout the Commonwealth have and will continue to implement cost-saving practices through the effective and efficient use of staff, technology and by all other means in the operation of the function of the offices to which each member is elected.
Now therefore, be it resolved, this 26th day of September, 2013, PSAECO urges the Northumberland County commissioners to reconsider their proposal to reduce pay and benefits of county officers as PSAECO believes doing so is not authorized by law, and further, PSAECO urges said commissioners to act in accordance with law and to work the row officers in the spirit of cooperation to resolve the financial problems facing the county while recognizing the mandated and important role and governmental function of the independently elected, and constitutionally-mandated row officers in a manner that the public deserves and demands;
And further, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted forthwith to the Northumberland County commissioners for consideration and reflection in the public interest.
(The resolution was signed by Patty Streams-Warman, president, and attested by Robb Green, vice president, of PSAECO.)