Six administrators in the York County District Attorney's Office will be getting pay increases retroactive to April 1, but the amounts won't be as high as their boss had been hoping.
The administrators were given annual raises ranging from $2,343 to $4,632, ranging from about 4 percent to 8 percent, less than half the amount District Attorney Tom Kearney wanted the county's salary board to approve. Kearney proposed boosts as high as about 18 percent.
A couple of weeks ago, the first round of pay increases was approved for 11 county prosecutors. Kearney said staff in his department, which prosecutes criminal cases, is underpaid and leaving to find more lucrative positions in the private sector.
The board approved that round of raises despite county commissioners Steve Chronister and Doug Hoke protesting that the amounts were too high. But on Wednesday, they voted in favor of a compromise for the second round of increases, saying the smaller increases are more in keeping with the raises granted to management in other departments.
The numbers: The biggest boost was to a district attorney administrator, whose $57,912 annual pay was increased by 8 percent, to $62,544.
Kearney said it remains to be seen whether the raises will be enough to retain staff.
"If at some point I feel like I need to go back to the well, I will do it," he said. "It's important to maintain the best people when public safety is at the core of the issue.
But he said he realizes he's "not the only department in the county."
Chronister and Hoke said taxpayers must ultimately pick up the tab for the raises, which will total $67,391 per year total for the prosecutors and the administrators. That's down from the $74,773 Kearney wanted.
Being fair: Chronister said he voted for the second round of raises because "they came up with a percentage increase that we could defend."
"The percentages were out of line, and they couldn't defend that amount of increase," he said. "I'm sure I could look across the whole county and make the case for other people being underpaid."
Some supervisors make less than the people they're supervising because of bargaining contracts and a county wage freeze, during the recession, on non-union employees, he said.
Hoke said the county has been talking about increasing salaries for years, but the raises have to be fair.
Kearney said he invests years of training into young prosecutors just to have them leave to take a job with the state or another entity because they owe thousands of dollars in student loans and aren't making enough money to start families.
He said York has lost two senior prosecutors in the past six months alone, and the county can't continue losing its best prosecutors without a corresponding decrease in public safety.
Kearney is an elected row officer whose salary is set by the state.
-- Reach Christina Kauffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.