Allegheny County Council considers cost-of-living raises for 2013
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Allegheny County Sheriff William Mullen says he would accept, but is not looking for, a cost-of-living bump in his pay next year.
County Council's Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday recommended adding $38,602 to the personnel budget for his office. That money would cover the total cost of inflation-related pay increases that the sheriff could have taken over the past 13 years.
"I didn't ask for a raise," he said. "And there certainly is no guarantee that I will get one."
Many employees in the sheriff's department, especially those who are eligible for overtime, now earn more than their boss.
In 1999, the base pay for the sheriff was set at $64,000 and for the county controller and the county treasurer, at $66,500. Neither Sheriff Mullen nor his predecessor, Peter DeFazio, has taken a cost-of-living increase.
That also was the case for the other two row offices until earlier this year. Controller Chelsa Wagner, who took office in January, and longtime treasurer, John Weinstein, both accepted cost-of-living raises for 2012. Their new salaries are $89,904, an increase of 35 percent from the $66,500 base salaries.
All three row officers are Democrats.
Ms. Wagner's office is facing the likelihood of a budget cut next year, and she pledged this week not to take any cost-of-living increase next year. On Wednesday, she went a step farther, saying she would consider reducing her own salary for 2013.
She has warned that some employees in her office would have to be furloughed if council approves the $5.7 million budget for the controller that county Executive Rich Fitzgerald has proposed. That number is 10 percent below the $6.3 million budgeted for 2012.
The controller serves as the county's chief financial watchdog. Expressing concerns about the dangers in reducing fiscal oversight if the controller's budget were trimmed, members of the Budget and Finance Committee recommended that council add another $200,000 to the controller's 2013 budget, raising the total to $5.9 million.
Mr. Fitzgerald, however, warned Wednesday that he would veto any budget that increased money for the controller above the amount his administration proposed.
A final budget vote is scheduled for Tuesday.
Shortly before the county switched to the county executive-council form of government, the commissioners set salaries for the controller, treasurer and sheriff that included the provision for annual cost-of-living adjustments.
First Published November 29, 2012 12:00 am