Erie County employee raises scrutinized

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The Erie County Council approved the 2018 Erie County Non-Bargaining Pay Plan last month with a 6-1 vote.

The plan will assign new pay grades for non-bargaining employees and AFSCME C/T Telecommunicators. The changes will affect more than 400 of the county’s 1,200 employees.

The council has reported that raises would amount to a little more than $500,000.

Erie County Council chairman Jay Breneman said, “The taxpayers will actually save money over time, because we won’t have to constantly rehire and retrain people because we’re paying them an unfair amount.”

The Erie Times News obtained documents indicating that raises could total $780,000.

Republican candidate for Erie County Executive Art Oligeri said criticizes Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper.

“One of the things is that I think she was trying to hide the magnitude of the pay raise,” he said.

Oligeri believes the details of the plan deserved more attention.

He said, “There should’ve been more deliberation. Some more evaluation of this situation rather than to make this gigantic leap into $780,000 increase in expenses.”

Breneman said, “This was a County Council-driven project. This wasn’t a County Executive-driven project. This is something that Council worked on and created and deliberated and passed.”

Breneman explained that the county will receive rebates from insurance companies.

“The costs could be a little bit around half-million dollars and the rebates that we’re anticipating this year and next year are above and beyond that amount,” he said.

Oligeri disagrees saying that taxpayers will be left with the burden.

“The current administration is growing government. I’m just the opposite. Less spending. Smaller government,” he said.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper was not immediately available for comment.

The new pay plan will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.
 

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