Public speaks out against wage cuts
SUNBURY - Although some of the citizens in attendance at Wednesday's public hearing and meeting to reduce the salaries of elected county officials appreciated the commissioners' efforts to save money, the vast majority lambasted Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Stephen Bridy for taking the unprecedented action.
Commissioner Rich Shoch opposed the reduction in salaries and greater contribution toward health care.
Comments offered by Scott Karpinski, of Sunbury, seemed to delight the crowd the most.
He told Clausi and Bridy, "You are an embarrassment to the taxpayers. This is another dog and pony show. Whatever you (Clausi) say, he (Bridy) does."
Karpinski then singled out Clausi by stating, "You are the biggest mouth and biggest bully in the county. Some day, you aren't going to be elected. This county has had enough of people like you. You are circumventing the electoral process and acting like a dictator."
Ron Slovick, of Coal Township, called the pay reductions "insulting."
Attorney Donald Petrille Jr., register of wills and clerk of the orphan's court in Bucks County, said by cutting the salaries of county row officers to barely above the minimum wage, the commissioners would guarantee that the only people who will seek the constitutionally mandated offices will be those who are independently wealthy and are consummate politicians.
"This proposal is not about saving money, it's about control. If you don't like the elected officials in your government, do what our founders intended - win an election," he said.
Regina Carey, who works in the register and recorder's office, described the commissioners' meetings as a magician's show with a lot of smoke and mirrors. She warned Bridy and Clausi that they would "pay the price" for reducing the salaries because a lot of lawsuits would be filed against them.
Jeff Cuff, of Elysburg, said, "The citizens aren't being considered here. This is a drastic and bold step that needs more study."
Northumberland County Democratic Committee Chairman Rodger Babnew, of Lower Augusta Township, said the decision to slash the salaries should be left up to the voters instead of two people.
Jamie Saleskie, who is employed in the prothonotary's office and unsuccessfully ran for prothonotary in the primary election, said, "You are dumbing down the county by lowering these salaries. All these offices bring in money. You are being disrespectful."
Don O'Shell, clerk of courts for York County, discussed how elected officials help their communities and the county outside their offices.