Northumberland County agrees to union raises
SUNBURY - Northumberland County commissioners approved Tuesday a collective bargaining agreement with court-appointed, non-professional employees that grants them at least a 3 percent raise next year.
The three-year contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012, and covers approximately 30 employees, including support staff in domestic relations, juvenile court services, adult probation, court administration and the four magisterial district judge offices in the county.
Voting to approve the pact with Teamsters Local Union 764 were Commissioners Richard Shoch, Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy.
Northumberland County Human Resources Director Joseph Picarelli said employees were granted wage increases of 1.25 percent and 3 percent, respectively, for 2012 and 2013. In 2014, employees will receive salary increases ranging from 3 to 3.75 percent, depending on years of service.
Picarelli said court criers and tip staff, who formerly were salaried employees, will be paid $120 per day under the new contract.
For 2012, employee insurance premium co-payments will be 5 percent of the monthly cost of the premium to the county for the selected coverage, not to exceed $35 per month for single coverage, $45 per month for two-party coverage and $50 per month for family coverage.
For 2013, employee insurance premium co-payments shall be $50 per month for single coverage, $90 per month for two-party coverage and $100 per month for family coverage.
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, employee insurance premium co-payments will be $75 per month for single coverage, $125 per month for two-party coverage and $150 per month for family coverage.
Clausi said he plans to contact Attorneys Michael Apfelbaum and Michael Kula, of Sunbury, to petition the court to set a trial date for the defamation lawsuit filed by fired county deputy sheriffs Michael Boris and Joseph Jones against the commissioner and county.
"I want to move forward with the case by taking it to trial as soon as possible," Clausi said. "I believe the evidence is overwhelming. An arbitrator previously ruled that there was a lot of pornography viewed on computers in the sheriff's office and that Jones and Boris shouldn't get their jobs back. We are spending too much money defending this case, which has been delayed too long. I want it to go to trial within a year."
Clausi, when he exposed the fact that pornography was viewed on sheriff's department computers, never mentioned names. That move protected the county from libel, but also left all sheriff's department employees as suspects. Eventually, when Boris and Jones were fired for not obeying the department's computer usage policy, their names became more formally linked to the alleged porn-viewing, yet still not definitively.
The commissioners agreed to lease copiers from Leaf Capital Funding LLC for the county foster care program and Children and Youth Services at costs of $178 per month and $157 per month, respectively, for 60 months.
The board passed a resolution approving a right-of-way agreement with PPL Electric Utilities Corp. granting PPL authority to construct and maintain its electric and communications lines on land leased to the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area Authority.
At the end of the meeting, Regina Russell, of Sunbury, asked the commissioners what will happen if county row officers resign because of salary cuts (see story page 1).
Clausi said he is sure someone would seek the positions. Shoch said the reduction in salaries would result in unqualified or independently wealthy people running for the posts.
Mandy Wagner, a caseworker supervisor for Children and Youth Services, was presented a certificate by the commissioners for being selected employee of the month for October.
A moment of silence was held at the beginning of the meeting for the family of Staff Sgt. Thomas A. Baysore Jr., 31, of Milton, who was killed in the line of duty Thursday in Afghanistan.