3 Bullskin supervisors appeal for raises in court
Three elected township supervisors in Fayette County have gone to court to try to get a raise in their hourly pay as roadmasters.
In an appeal filed on Tuesday, Bullskin's three supervisors said the township's elected auditors have refused to give them a raise for the past four years.
“The township supervisors believe it is a violation of the Second Class Township Code to permit the auditors to essentially freeze the wages of the roadmasters when the cost of living is going up and in failing to take into consideration the facts and circumstances which exist under the Second Class Township Code by refusing to provide a reasonable increase in the hourly rate for township roadmasters,” attorney Donald L. McCue of Connellsville wrote in the appeal filed in Common Pleas Court.
Roadmasters, according to the appeal, have duties that include managing road crews, operating backhoes and trucks, setting work schedules and planning road improvements.
Supervisors Thomas Keefer, Roy Thayer and Walter “Deb” Wiltrout earn $19 per hour to work 40-hour weeks as roadmasters.
This is Thayer's first year in office.
Their pay is determined by an elected board of auditors, which consists of John B. Coughenour, Jeffrey L. Martucci and Jeffrey L. Hann, according to the appeal.
The auditors have not approved raises for the supervisors from 2011 to 2014, despite supervisors seeking “a reasonable increase in each of those respective years,” according to the appeal.
The appeal does not indicate exactly how much the supervisors are seeking, but it notes that township employees who are in a union receive regular raises and will earn $17.80 per hour on road crews.
Hann said Tuesday that auditors did not approve raises for supervisors this year for several reasons, including a hefty increase in health care premiums for employees. He said the township will pay $180,000 this year for health care, up $60,000 from last year.
Bullskin's supervisors, at $19 per hour, earn more than the average for roadmasters in Pennsylvania, Hann said.
He cited a 2012 report by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors that put the average hourly pay statewide for roadmasters at $18.25 and in southwestern Pennsylvania at $17.92.
With benefits that include health care, pension contributions and mileage reimbursements, Hann said, Bullskin's supervisors' annual compensation is approximately $85,000.
In addition, Hann said auditors did not think raises were appropriate, with two of the supervisors facing election-code violations.
Keefer, Wiltrout and former supervisor William H. Geary were charged at the recommendation of an investigating grand jury.
The grand jury said Keefer and Geary helped voters obtain and cast absentee ballots when the voters, most of whom were elderly, were able to go to the polls.
The grand jury alleged that Keefer and Geary failed to submit required declarations of physical disability with the ballots. Wiltrout failed to fill out declarations of assistance after helping two voters fill out and mail absentee ballots, according to a grand jury presentment.
All three men's cases are pending in county court.
Other auditors and the supervisors did not respond to requests for comment.
In the appeal, supervisors contend the auditors' failure to grant them a raise is unfair and discriminatory and violates the township code, which requires supervisors' pay to be comparable to that of other employees who do the same work.
The appeal claims that although Bullskin is the county's third largest with 75 miles of road and 7,782 residents, roadmasters in the county's other second-class townships earn “significantly more” than do Bullskin's. No specifics are provided in the suit.
A hearing before a judge on the appeal has not been set.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Man to serve prison sentence for rock attack
- Connellsville area poverty simulation opens people’s eyes
- Air conditioner replaced at Fayette County’s jail annex
- 3 men to stand trial over runaway Latrobe foster children
- Longtime Connellsville area business closes its doors
- Connellsville considers axing paid firefighters
- Albert Gallatin bus driver pleads guilty to sexual assault
- Breakneck Church to hold flea market, bake sale
- Fayette Friends of Animals volunteer uses talent to help get her shelter animals adopted
- Connellsville Health Board airs ordinance issues
- Fayette County Fair up and running