Salary Board Approves Creating First Assistant DA Position, Collapsing Assistant DA Position

CLEARFIELD – On Tuesday the Clearfield County Salary Board approved the creation of a first assistant district attorney position and the collapse of one of the current assistant DA positions.

Prior to the board meeting, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. submitted a letter with the two, separate position requests for the board’s consideration.

First, Shaw requested to create a position of first assistant DA at a yearly salary of $50,000, effective Feb. 15, 2016. Secondly, he requested to collapse a position of assistant DA, also effective Feb. 15, 2016.

Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen, chair, initially wanted to “flip” the order by which the requests were given consideration. However, Human Resources Coordinator Marianne Sankey advised that Shaw’s second position request would be contingent upon the first one.

Commissioner John A. Sobel then asked if Shaw’s plans were to create a brand new position or merely changing the status of one of the current positions. Robinson-McMillen directed Sobel to the second request, which sought the collapse of a current assistant DA position.

She said her vote to create the first assistant DA position would be contingent upon the collapse of one of the current assistant DA positions. Controller Tony Scotto concurred with Robinson-McMillen.

Sankey pointed out that the board couldn’t be sure if Shaw wanted his position requests approved other than in the form of their submission.

“He probably should be here to explain more,” said Sankey.  Robinson-McMillen indicated Shaw knew what time the meeting started and asked if there was any type of motion. She personally said she would prefer to create the first assistant DA position contingent upon the collapse of an assistant DA position.

Solicitor Kim Kesner said even if the board created the position and something happened, it could always return and take an alternative vote. Sankey added the position requests, if approved, wouldn’t be effective until February.

Scotto suggested postponing action for further explanation from Shaw. As Robinson-McMillen began to present a position to create a first assistant DA position, Shaw arrived at the board meeting.

He explained that he was requesting the creation of a first assistant DA position at a yearly salary of $50,000 to be effective Feb. 15, 2016. Robinson-McMillen said she wanted to separate the vote on creating the position from setting the salary for it.

“I would like two, separate motions,” she said. “I don’t want both in one motion.” Shaw said he wasn’t creating this position for the sake of filling it.

Robinson-McMillen said that wasn’t what board members were trying to say. “We’ve always done it this way,” she said. “We create the position that either passes or doesn’t on its own merit. We then set the salary that either passes or doesn’t on its own merit.”

Shaw then asked if the board would create the position and he couldn’t fill it because of the salary, if he would have to come back, collapse it and request for an assistant DA. Robinson-McMillen confirmed that would be the case.

Sobel asked Shaw if his request to create a first assistant DA position was contingent upon the salary being $50,000 yearly. Shaw said he was requesting the yearly salary to be $50,000, but he was willing to discuss it with the board.

Robinson-McMillen asked Shaw if he was willing to put that into the form of a motion, which he did. However, Shaw’s motion died for a lack of second.

At that point, Commissioner Mark B. McCracken asked about the starting yearly salary for a first assistant DA. Robinson-McMillen said in the past, it has been $45,000.

Sobel made a motion to create a position of first assistant DA at a salary of $45,000 per year, effective Feb. 15, 2016, which was seconded by McCracken. Sobel, Robinson-McMillen, McCracken and Scotto all voted in favor. Shaw cast the lone opposing vote.

Robinson-McMillen asked Shaw if he wanted to make a motion to collapse one of the assistant DA positions in his office. Shaw declined.

Sobel made a motion to collapse an assistant DA position effective Feb. 15, 2016. It was seconded by McCracken. Again, Sobel, Robinson-McMillen, McCracken and Scotto all voted in favor. Shaw cast the lone opposing vote.

Shaw indicated that he had three assistant DAs and asked which position was collapsed by the board. Robinson-McMillen said they were all the same. Shaw pointed out that while the titles were the same, those in the positions earned different salaries.

Robinson-McMillen told Shaw that he was the department head, it was his office and he could pick one to collapse.

When Shaw asked if he found someone to fill the position, Robinson-McMillen confirmed they could start Feb. 15, 2016, and it wouldn’t require additional action from the salary board.

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