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State's attorney asks county for raises

April 15, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Washington County State's Attorney Charles Strong is asking the County Commissioners to raise the salaries of 13 prosecutors, including increasing the pay for each of the two deputy state's attorneys by about $21,000.

Strong's requests are part of a packet of requests from county department heads for 53 new and restructured positions. One of the requests, from County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop, asks for a promotion and a $15,721 pay raise for Emergency Services Director Joe Kroboth.

The requests - 24 for new positions and 29 for reclassified ones - would cost the county nearly $700,000, not including benefits.

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The salary increases requested by Strong would cost $74,453. The current cost of paying prosecutors is $689,449. Those figures also do not include the cost of benefits.

Strong requested that the deputy state's attorneys - Joseph Michael and Steve Kessell - each be paid $85,000 a year and that their salaries be bumped up a grade level. Michael earns $63,854 and Kessell earns $62,507.

Strong also requested pay raises ranging from $2,018 to $4,112 for the 11 assistant state's attorneys.

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said Wednesday he thought the requests from Strong were a result of the Commissioners increasing the pay of Deputy County Attorney John Martirano late last year. The Commissioners, trying to keep Martirano from taking a job with the Board of Education, hiked his salary from $66,747 to $90,000. The Commissioners said they gave more duties to Martirano.

"I just think a lot of that went back to the John Martirano issue of increasing his salary but not giving increases to them at the same time," Wivell said of Strong's requests.

Strong said in the written requests that the prosecutors' current salaries are not consistent with those in surrounding areas and that employee candidates have turned down jobs because the pay in the county is not competitive.

Shoop and Human Resources Director David Hankinson agreed that the deputy state's attorney's should receive increases, but not the amount Strong requested, Hankinson said Wednesday.

He said he and Shoop recommended to the commissioners that the salaries of Michael and Kessell increase to $77,500, but that the grade level of the positions not increase.

They also recommended that employees in the state's attorney's office receive 4 percent pay raises, in addition to the 4 percent raises all county employees are proposed to receive in fiscal year 2006. Fiscal year 2006 begins July 1.

The Commissioners went over some of the requests at Tuesday's meeting, but Shoop said they plan to finish the review next week.

Under Shoop's request, Kroboth would become the director of the proposed Division of Emergency Services. The division would mean broader responsibilities for Kroboth, now the director of the Department of Emergency Services, Shoop said Thursday. Kroboth's salary would increase from $66,279 to $82,000 a year.

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