Zurick to receive 96K for service on state board
SHAMOKIN - "I love it. It's the best job I ever had."
That was the reaction of Shamokin attorney James Zurick Thursday afternoon when asked to comment on his recent appointment to the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board at a salary of $96,000.
Zurick said there are eight members on the board.
Members are appointed by
the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The board exercises judicial powers vested in it by the Labor Code, and its major functions include reviewing petitions for reconsideration of decisions by workers' compensation administrative law judges of the Division of Workers' Compensation and regulation of the adjudication process by adopting rules of practice and procedure.
In addition to its appellate work, the board receives and determines petitions for counsel fees, petitions for rehearings, miscellaneous requests, commutations and petitions for supersedeas (both before the board and Commonwealth Court).
All appeals filed with the board are listed for argument in accordance with a yearly schedule of hearings. At present, the board sits in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, Johnstown and Erie.
When asked if his new position would affect his solicitor duties for Shamokin Area School Board and Shamokin-Coal Township Joint Sewer Authority, Zurick declined comment.
Zurick had served as chairman of the State Tax Equalization Board (STEB) in 2011 when it was heavily criticized by then-Auditor General Jack Wagner for miscalculating property tax values in school districts across the state.
The tax board's miscalculations caused school boards to improperly raise taxes in 70 municipalities based on those assessments. The problem initiated in White Deer Township, Union County, where officials using STEB"s calculations increased property assessments by $32 million and nearly caused Milton Area School District to raise taxes by 19 percent in 2010.
Zurick's term with STEB expired. His STEB salary was approximately $25,000 per year.