CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – It is election season and the hot topic in the Cumberland County Commissioners race is pay raises.
“I think they were unjustified. It is important that we pay our employees and that we pay our employees fairly, but we also have to be accountable to our taxpayers,” Commissioner Jim Hertzler said.
Hertzler and former commissioner Rick Rovegno are running mates in the November election. They say a $2.3 million pay raise for some county employees was unfair to taxpayers. Hertzler voted against the plan, which passed over the summer. He says the average increase for the 323 employees was over $7,000.
“A total 107 employees received pay raises over $10,000, 36 got pay bumps of over $15,000, and a fortunate four received pay raises over $24,000,” Hertzler said.
“Gary Eichelberger wants to bring private sector practices to Cumberland County. He has no private-sector practical manager experience. If he would, he would have known that this is going to be a mess, which it is, and it is going to take a significant amount of time to clean it up,” Rovegno said.
Eichelberger is running for his fourth term as a commissioner.
“I think [Rovegno] really needs to get his facts straightened out,” he said.
Eichelberger says turnover and overtime contributed to budget problems and the pay raises combined with streamlining will be better for the county. He called his opponents’ news conference a political red herring.
“They have been trying to get this county government to increase it unionization. If we go that route, the budget will be completely out of control for as long as the eye can see,” he said.
Hertzler sent a letter to his fellow commissioners, asking that a moratorium be placed on any future decision regarding employee salaries until after the election.
Commissioner Barbara Cross’s response: “Election season has begun.”