New Castle News

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June 13, 2014

Auditors revise supervisors’ wages

NEW CASTLE — The Pulaski Township auditors increased roadmaster wages for two township supervisors Thursday.

In a special meeting, auditors Bruce Clingan and Dan Abramson raised roadmaster wages for Supervisors Lori Sniezek and Sam Varano from $10 to $14.55 per hour, retroactive to Jan. 1.

In a joint statement issued Thursday afternoon, Sniezek and Varano, who did not attend the special meeting, said they are pleased to hear that their wages had been reinstated, adding that roadmaster rates have been $14.45 in Pulaski Township since 2010.

“Unfortunately, because of the action of these two elected auditors, it has cost the taxpayers the burden of advertising three meetings and any other cost incurred because of this vindictive action,” Sniezek and Varano stated.

Also at Thursday’s special meeting, Clingan and Abramson appointed attorney John DeCaro as their legal counsel at $200 per hour for representing them in a lawsuit that Sniezek and Varano had filed against them over the roadmaster wages.

The third auditor, James Miller, opposed the reduction in Sniezek’s and Varano’s wages, was not at the meeting where that vote was taken, and was not named in the lawsuit. He did not attend Thursday’s meeting.

Abramson said Thursday’s action was taken in response to Sniezek and Varano’s lawsuit filed against him and Clingan in February.

In that suit, Sniezek and Varano sought to restore their wages to a rate comparable to roadmasters in nearby townships and road workers in the area. Their complaint, filed Feb. 19, stated, “The defendants/auditors failed in their obligation pursuant to the Second Class Township Code to establish wages for the plaintiffs/roadmasters comparable to compensation paid in the locality for similar services.” It states this was “based upon personal animus and not based upon the factors set forth in the Second Class Township Code.”

The third supervisor, Greg Carna, was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit. His wages were set at $15.50 per hour in January by Clingan and Abramson, who said at the time they had given him a higher rate because he has a commercial driver’s license.

The complaint goes on to state that wages for full-timers performing similar labor in the township ranges from $16 to $17 per hour and that Pennsylvania roadmaster rates range from $14.55 to $20.62 hourly.

Abramson said after the meeting Thursday that he and Clingan had tried to settle the matter with Sniezek and Varano March 10, but they wanted $15.50 hourly, a public apology and their attorney fees paid. Sniezek and Varano could not be reached to comment on Abramson’s statement.

“This all stems from them not letting us know what they made last year,” Abramson said. Before setting 2014 wages, he said, he and Clingan wanted to know what supervisors had made the previous year. But they refused when the township wanted them to pay for copies of documents showing what the supervisors had been paid in 2013. Abramson said this is why he and Clingan had set the hourly wages at $10.

(Email: grzebieniak@ncnewsonline.com)

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