ShareThis Page

Westmoreland leaders OK raises for grant-funded child welfare workers

Rich Cholodofsky
| Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 10:54 p.m.

The Westmoreland County salary board on Wednesday approved the reorganization of two departments that provide child welfare and mental health services to thousands of residents, increasing the annual payroll by more than $110,000.

County commissioners and Controller Jeff Balzer, acting as the salary board, unanimously signed off on the plan that gave raises to dozens of behavioral health and children's bureau staffers.

“Protecting abused and neglected children is the most important thing we do,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said.

Commissioners said both programs are funded by state and federal grants, not through revenue generated by property taxes.

Eight jobs in the behavioral health department, including program specialists and administrators, will be given pay hikes. In the children's bureau, 21 positions that include caseworkers, administrators and clerical staff will get raises.

The reorganization altered some job descriptions and duties for employees and was made possible by an increase in state and federal funding, Commissioner Gina Cerilli said.

“It's well-deserved and not coming from our general fund,” Cerilli said.

The 2017 budget shows the children's bureau operates with a $25.8 million budget, while the behavioral health and development services division has a $19.8 million budget.

Commissioner Charles Anderson said the reorganization was designed to make both departments more responsive to the public.

“This will make them stronger and enable them to get the job done,” he said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.