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Pay raises approved for eight officers

BELMONT -- Allegany County legislators Monday approved pay raises for eight county officers.

A pay-hike resolution for eight officers and four coroners was defeated in October.

Monday, the same resolution -- minus the four coroners -- was approved, 11-3. Legislator Patrick Regan, R-Willing, was absent from the vote.

Several people spoke against the raises during a public hearing preceding the vote, including two legislators-elect.

But Steve Rennie, a case supervisor in the county's Social Services Department, urged that the pay increases be approved and called on legislators to be statesmen, not politicians. Politicians, he said. "react to local angry voices," while statesmen "act in the best interest of the common good."

Norman Ungermann, R-Cuba, who will take office Jan. 1, said he believes raises are out of line in a county whose people have a per-capita income of about $14,000. He added that the "1,600 people" who voted him into office expect him to fight to keep county costs down.

Karl Kruger, R-Friendship, said he agreed with Ungermann.

"If I were sitting on this board today, I'd vote no," he said.

Legislators Robert K. Sobeck and Daniel Russo, both R-Wellsville, and James A. Graffrath, R-Andover, voted against the raises.

Salary increases were approved for Real Property Tax Service Agency Director Steven Presutti, to $45,666; County Clerk Robert Christman, $50,404; Sheriff Randal Belmont, $61,095; Public Health Director Dr. Gary Ogden, $67,091; Social Services Commissioner Patricia Schmelzer, $63,240; Public Works Superintendent David Roeske, $60,935; Employment and Training Director Jerry Garmong, $53,055; and Public Defender Beth Farwell, $73,528.

Coroners will continue to be paid 100 per day.

The Legislature also set the salary schedule for non-union employees, including its own members. Legislators will be paid $8,500 per year, as they have been, with the chairman, Curtis Crandall, R-Caneadea, chosen by caucus last month, to receive another $8,500.

District Attorney Terrence M. Parker will make $119,800; County Attorney Daniel Guiney, $93,586.

Also, County Treasurer Terri Ross will be paid $55,162, County Administrator John E. Margeson, $79,250 and Legislature Clerk Brenda Rigby Riehle, $45,659.

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