CLEARFIELD – When considering a resolution to confirm the salaries set for elected officials last week, the Clearfield County commissioners decided to withdraw its action and instead approved a two-year freeze for 2014 and 2015.
The commissioners said the elected officials’ salaries would be fixed without an increase at the end of 2013. Both Commissioners John A. Sobel and Joan Robinson-McMillen again said they would not accept their 3 percent raise for 2011.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting, Commissioner Mark B. McCracken opened the floor for discussion of the salaries set for elected officials. He specifically asked Solicitor Kim Kesner if their salaries were already set with uniform increases.
Kesner said the commissioners have the authority to adjust increases and decreases to the base salary. But these adjustments must be applied on a percentage basis and applicable to everyone across the board.
McCracken said they concluded last week with discussion of Sobel and Robinson-McMillen, who planned to decline their raises for next year. He believed those raises were already in place whether or not an individual wanted to accept them.
Kesner pointed out a similar situation with Gov.-Elect Tom Corbett, who intends to turn down his increase that law grants him next year. Instead, Kesner said Corbett plans to accept the current salary and make a charitable contribution with the rest.
McCracken said it puts other elected officials in what he described as a “touchy situation.”
“How (is that)?” Robinson-McMillen asked. She said the commissioners were elected to “take the helm” of Clearfield County and “to lead by example.” Sobel concurred.
He explained that he, personally, could “make it” without the increase and felt they must take the lead. He said other elected officials may have different circumstances and may need to accept the raise.
“We don’t want to force it on elected officials,” Sobel said. “But they should have an option.”
McCracken then suggested a salary freeze for the elected officials. Robinson-McMillen asked if they should first hold a public hearing and give these individuals an opportunity to voice their opinion. She noted they only had one show for the special meeting last Tuesday.
Kesner advised the commissioners that it was OK to move forward and said they must first rescind the prior action. He said they had one meeting left this month, and he would prepare a resolution to formalize their action.
Both Sobel and Robinson-McMillen said their external auditor is currently reviewing the procedures by which they can decline their salary increase for next year.